Big River Steel, a steel mill and scrap recycling facility in Osceola, announced plans on Friday to expand its operation. The expansion will cost approximately $1.2 billion and add 500 new jobs.
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.
“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.”
Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston added, “Big River Steel continues to perform beyond expectations. 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.”
The expansion of the Osceola facility will begin later this year and continue for about two years. Operations at the $1.3 billion mill began in early 2017.