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Nucor Corp’s Direct Reduced Iron Plant First Phase Of $3.4 Billion Project In St. James Parish, Louisiana

Area Development Online News Desk (03/04/2014)
Nucor Corp. dedicated the company’s completed $750 million direct reduced iron, or DRI, plant in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

The plant is the first of a potential five-phase project in the parish, which is located on the Mississippi River approximately 60 miles north of New Orleans. Louisiana Economic Development officials said the company, which began operating the DRI plant on time in late December, has achieved the highest performance of any standalone DRI plant in the world.

Nucor has created 140 new direct jobs to date and will reach its target of 150 jobs well in advance of the company’s year-end 2014 commitment to the State of Louisiana, Louisiana Economic Development officials said. “By the end of 2015, the company will inform Louisiana officials of its intent to complete the remaining four phases. Should all five phases be developed, Nucor’s total investment would reach $3.4 billion and total direct employment would reach 1,250.”

The Convent plant receives imported ferrous oxide from Brazil, Canada and Norway, conveying the iron ore from a Mississippi River terminal to the direct reduced iron plant. There, the material reacts with natural gas at extremely high heat, the oxygen is removed from the ore, and refined iron pellets are conveyed back to river barges that ship the product to Nucor’s steel mills across the Southeast United States.

“Our DRI plant represents a major milestone for our company and for American manufacturing,” Nucor Corp. Chairman/CEO John Ferriola. “This project is a key part of our strategy to produce more of our own raw materials in order to better control costs and maintain our competitive advantage in the global steel industry. This is the largest DRI plant currently operating in the world and the first one to operate in the U.S. since 2009. We are very proud to be investing in American manufacturing and to add Louisiana to the list of states where Nucor does business.”

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Today marks an extraordinary milestone for Nucor, Louisiana, St. James Parish and every resident of our state as we celebrate a tremendous achievement. Nucor has built a successful first phase in this ambitious, world-scale project and is producing direct reduced iron for its mills at a higher level of efficiency than anyone has ever achieved.

To secure the project, LED offered a customized incentive package to Nucor, including performance-based financial assistance that totals $160 million over approximately six years, provided that all five phases are initiated as scheduled in the company’s agreement with the State of Louisiana. Nucor also is utilizing a federal Gulf Opportunity Zone bond allocation of $600 million, which the company alone will be responsible for repaying, and Nucor will utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.

“The completion of Nucor’s Phase I is truly a sign of the resiliency and vitality of our business climate,” said Executive Director Chassity McComack of the River Region Chamber of Commerce. “Being nestled between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, this growth provides a huge advantage for our area and creates a multitude of unlimited opportunities for local success and workforce development. We are proud to have Nucor as a member of the River Region Chamber of Commerce and will be additive and supportive to their growing needs in the years to come.”

“Greater New Orleans Inc. is pleased to join Governor Jindal and Nucor Corp. Chairman/CEO John Ferriola to dedicate the completed first phase of Nucor’s major iron-and-steel mill project in St. James,” said GNO Inc. President/CEO Michael Hecht. “Nucor is the archetype for industrial expansion in Louisiana – a great company, making a large investment, with the long-term commitment of the entire region and state."

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