By Mike Tomberlin
A $500 million electric arc furnace at the AM/NS Calvert Mill in Mobile County is expected to add 300 jobs and a major new capability for the former ThyssenKrupp plant.
ArcelorMittal, which now operates the facility in a partnership with Nippon Steel Corp., announced plans yesterday to add the electric arc furnace, or EAF, capable of producing 1.5 metric tons of steel annually. That’s enough to build 214 Eiffel Towers and get more than a quarter of a way complete on another one.
Most importantly, it will allow the mill to produce slabs of steel on site. Currently, those slabs are imported from Brazil.
“An electric arc furnace at Calvert makes strategic sense as it allows our asset to be more reactive to the local market as well as being in line with the USMCA,” said Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal. “Furthermore, it aligns with our ambition of producing smarter steels for a better world.”
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, calls for more future automotive steel used in the U.S. to be produced in North America.
“The addition of an EAF at AM/NS Calvert presents a transformational opportunity for what is already widely considered to be the world’s most advanced steel finishing facility,” said Brad Davey, CEO, ArcelorMittal North America. “A new EAF at AM/NS Calvert will further secure ArcelorMittal’s leadership in the North American automotive market.”
The steel slabs produced at the EAF will be used at AM/NS Calvert’s existing Hot Strip Mill, which produces a broad spectrum of steel grades required for the industries the plant serves.
“We are very pleased to announce the addition of an Electric Arc Furnace at AM/NS Calvert,” AM/NS CEO Jorge Oliveira said. “For many months, we have discussed this opportunity and identified the need for our facility to offer our customers shorter lead times and order flexibility to compete with the mini-mills in our targeted markets. This investment is not only positive for our company but also for the community.”
The EAF is expected to take two years to complete and will create more than 500 on-site construction jobs.
“Alabama has a long heritage in steelmaking, and the decision by AM/NS Calvert to invest more than $500 million at its Mobile County mill represents another important development in the history of the industry in the state,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “The growth will help the company serve customers in industries such as automotive with great ‘Made in Alabama’ steel.”
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said the EAF is a major enhancement to what is already a $4.2 billion plant.
“One of Governor Kay Ivey’s top priorities is helping companies grow and create jobs in the state, so we fully support the decision by AM/NS Calvert to significantly expand its steelmaking operations in Mobile County,” Canfield said. “This investment will enhance AM/NS Calvert’s competitive position and expand its capabilities while also delivering a massive economic impact on Alabama.”
“We have been pleased to work alongside ArcelorMittal since 2013 and will continue to work to provide clean, safe and reliable energy solutions to power their Mobile County expansion,” said Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite.
The plant is already a major employer in northern Mobile County. Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, represents that district of Mobile County.
“We are excited about the announcement of AM/NS Calvert,” Ludgood said. “This means good jobs and a significant investment in our county. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with one of our best corporate citizens.”
The economic impact will be felt countywide and across the entire state, Mobile County Commission President Jerry Carl said.
“Team Mobile pulled it together once again, this is BIG news for our area,” Carl said. “The jobs associated with this project will have a tremendous impact for years to come.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson had similar praise.
“We welcome this decision by AM/NS to expand its operations in Mobile County,” he said. “This investment strengthens an already great partnership and demonstrates to the world that the Mobile area is open for business.”
The expansion builds on other economic development successes in the area that also include aerospace and distribution.
“Having this type of expansion in our community continues to set Mobile, Alabama apart in advanced manufacturing,” said David Rodgers, vice president of Economic Development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama NewsCenter website.