Big River Steel announced today that it is expanding its LEED-certified, Arkansas-based scrap recycling and steel production facility. The expansion will double Big River Steel’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually. In addition, the expansion will facilitate the company’s ability to produce even higher grades of electrical steel, demand for which is expected to increase with continued focus on energy efficiency and the increase in hybrid and electric vehicle sales.
“Our $1.2 billion expansion will further cement Big River Steel’s position as a global leader in terms of advanced manufacturing and environmental stewardship,” said Dave Stickler, Big River Steel’s chief executive officer. “Announcing this investment less than 18 months after beginning operations is a testament to the hard work and great success of the men and women on our team.”
Engineering efforts are already underway with SMS group GmbH, the primary technology provider, and will continue throughout the summer months. Major construction activity will begin later this year and continue for approximately 24 months.
In addition to doubling its hot-rolled steel production and enhancing its electrical steel capability, Big River is also contemplating the installation of a next generation coating line focused on automotive applications. Such an installation may involve a steel industry partner. With its entrepreneurial mindset, Big River Steel is also exploring opportunities to supply the market with grain-oriented steel products, either within this expansion phase or as a future endeavor.
The news of Big River’s expansion was welcomed by Arkansas state officials who touted the opportunity to bring additional high-paying jobs and incremental investments to northeast Arkansas.
“When Big River Steel chose Arkansas as the site of its new plant, it was the largest economic development project in the state’s history,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “Our state’s pro-business climate has led to the company deciding to expand here. That means even more jobs and more investment in Arkansas.”
“Big River Steel continues to perform beyond expectations,” said Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston. “Thanks to Big River Steel’s commitment to Arkansas coupled with our talented workforce, low cost of doing business and a pro-growth governor, this expansion further solidifies the state’s position as a leader in steel production and industrial manufacturing.”