Arkansas Business: Top 10 Business Stories of 2022
Magnetic Quality of Steel
The steel-fueled economic development party in Mississippi County kept rollicking in 2022 with hundreds of new jobs following billions of investment dollars.
The year began giddily with U.S. Steel’s January announcement and February groundbreaking of an optimized production facility equipped with two electric arc furnaces capable of delivering 3 million tons of steel per year.
Arkansas beat out Alabama and Mississippi to land the Pittsburgh-headquartered steelmaker’s $3 billion project, estimated to create 900 direct and indirect jobs and headed toward completion in 2024.
Next came Envirotech Vehicles’ selection of Osceola for its first electric car plant as well as its new corporate home. The company completed final assembly of its first EV in April at a former Fruit of the Loom factory.
Envirotech is expected to finish an $80 million facelift of the 580,000-SF facility and employ as many as 800 by 2027.
The proximity to Mississippi County steel plants also prompted Chicago’s Zekelman Industries to add a third Blytheville facility to its production network. In September, the company announced the late 2023 arrival of its Wheatland Tube project.
News of the inline steel tube galvanizing plant came after Zekelman opened its second Atlas Tube plant in May, a $150 million electric resistance welding steel mill.
In November, Highbar LLC unveiled its plans for a $500 million steel rebar mini-mill near Osceola expected to create 200 direct and indirect jobs.
Construction of the facility, which will also accommodate sustainable scrap metal recycling, should launch in the second quarter of 2023 and wind down in 2025.
Mississippi County’s glad manufacturing tidings were accompanied by news from Entergy Arkansas: about a new 250-megawatt project near Osceola dubbed Driver Solar.
The 2,100-acre project will be the state’s biggest solar energy complex. Capable of supplying enough electricity to power more than 40,000 homes, the solar array will supply juice for U.S. Steel’s new plant under construction nearby.