Manufacturing

JSW Steel to Invest $500M in Acero Junction

MINGO JUNCTION, Ohio – JSW Steel of India announced a proposal to invest $500 million to acquire, enhance and upgrade Acero Junction Inc., an integrated steel manufacturing plant here with a potential capacity of 3 MTPA, or million tons per year, of steel.

A release by JSW, the company said the proposed investment would be made in two phases. First, it will revamp and restart the plant’s electric arc furnace and slab caster while modernizing the hot strip mill.

The second phase depends on “the economic viability and prevailing market conditions,” but the plan is to evaluate the possibility of adding another electric arc furnace as well as more manufacturing equipment at the hot strip mill. This would help bring the plant up to the three-million-ton capacity, the company stated.

The $500 million would be spread evenly between the two phases. The second phase is subject to feasibility studies and necessary approvals, according to the release.

The acquisition furthers the JSW’s product range as it will allow the company to supply American melted and manufactured hot rolled coils, said Parth Jindal, director of JSW Steel USA Inc. The announcement comes on the heels of JSW’s announcement in March that it will expand operations at its plate and pipe mill in Baytown, Texas – another $500 million investment that is expected to create 500 jobs there.

“JSW is pleased to share its intention for additional investments in the US market. It is our fundamental belief that due to the rich availability of scrap metal and abundance of natural gas, making steel through EAF route is highly competitive in USA from a global standpoint,” Jindal said in the release. “It is our intention to further augment our capacity in Acero Junction over the next few years and, subject to necessary approvals, to take the combined capacity of JSW USA to 4 MTPA (3 MTPA at Acero and 1 MTPA at Baytown), which will be 100% American Melted and Manufactured.”

In a statement, Kristi Tanner, senior managing director for JobsOhio, said the planned investment in Acero “will bring cutting-edge technology that will revitalize the facility and bring good-paying jobs to the community.”

On Thursday, JSW Steel USA president and CEO, John Hritz, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that the two projects would create a combined 1,000 jobs, including “many, many high-tech jobs.” He credits President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs for enabling the expansions.

“We are completely in lockstep with the president,” Hritz said. “Completely in lockstep with the administration.”

Today, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, praised the decision, calling it “great news” for eastern Ohio.

“I’m excited that JSW Steel chose to invest in a steel manufacturing facility here in Ohio,” Portman said in a release. “We welcome JSW Steel to our great state and know that its investment will produce good jobs and help boost the region’s economic growth. People who say steel is an industry of the past are wrong. Steel is still very much a part of the present and future of Ohio and the United States.”

Acero Junction Inc. began in July 2016 after acquiring the Electric Arc Furnace and Rolling mill of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. plant in Mingo Junction. The plant itself has been in operation since 1872. In 2009, the Russian-based OAO Severstal closed the Mingo Junction mill after purchasing it from Wheeling-Pittsburgh a year earlier. Later, Severstal sold the plant to the RG Steel Corp. in Pulaski, Pennsylvania, which filed for bankruptcy in May 2012.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.