Nucor plans new US mill and breaks ground on latest plant

US-based Nucor says it is exploring potential sites in the Pacific Northwest to build a new rebar micro-mill with 650,000 s.tons/y of capacity.

Subject to directors’ approval, it would be the group’s fourth such plant, joining existing micro-mills in Missouri and Florida and the one under construction in home state North Carolina. The new mill will produce a full range of rebar sizes and have spooling capabilities.

“Locating a new rebar micro-mill in the Pacific Northwest provides us with an excellent opportunity to better serve our customers in the region,” said company chief Leon Topalian.

Nucor, which produces steel via the electric arc furnace (EAF) process, says the US rebar market is expected to show continued strength thanks to government spending on infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the company has broken ground on a new EAF plant in Mason County, West Virginia. The mill, first announced in January last year, will have a 3 M s.ton/y sheet capacity and cost $3.1 bn (€2.93 bn) to build.

Nucor is claiming a world record for the ground-breaking ceremony: the most people holding shovels, 545, for such an event. The previous record stood at 250, local media reported.

New EAF production prompting developments in ferrous scrap

US longs demand will continue to grow through 2026 alongside funding from the federal infrastructure bill. Newly announced rebar mini mills could add ~5 Mt/y of additional capacity should they all come to fruition. In addition to Nucor, CMC, Miami Steel, Ahoka Steel Mills, 72 Steel, and Hybar have all announced or begun construction on new rebar mills. While the appetite for imports will diminish given the rise in domestic output, demand will continue to outpace production. With rising EAF output, ferrous scrap demand will also increase in the coming years.

Between 2017-2025, the US steel industry will have added over 10 M tons of EAF capacity, and some integrated Canadian mills are also planning to switch over to the EAF steelmaking process. While demand for both scrap and ore-based metallics increase, prime grade scrap will be in particularly high demand. Concerns around availability in the coming years have prompted some mills to acquire scrap assets, while others are exploring new technologies and scrap mixes to reduce impurities in shredded scrap.

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