Talk Business & Politics: New steel line opens at Big River facility in Osceola
The world is changing, US Steel president and CEO Dave Burritt said Thursday (Oct. 12), and perhaps it is no more evident than in the new line that can produce the thinnest gauges, widest widths and biggest coils in the domestic steel market today.
It is not only thinnest, lightest and widest, Burritt said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Big River Steel in Osceola, but “it is the best steel made anywhere.”
Big River Steel, which was acquired by US Steel in 2021, is producing its Indux line of non-grain-oriented electrical steel, which was specifically engineered to meet the demands of the electrical vehicle market as well as the power generator and transformer manufacturing industries.
The Indusx manufacturing process produces up to 70-80% less in greenhouse gas emissions than integrated steel making and uses up to 90% scrap steel as a raw materials. The new line is capable of producing enough electrical steel to outfit approximately 2.6 million electric vehicles.
Completion of the line – which Big River Steel executive vice president Dan Brown said was “on time and on budget”, will result in the creation of 700 jobs. The 700 jobs are “good jobs, good-paying jobs, career jobs,” Brown said.
The construction of the new line represents an investment of $450 million, Brown said. The company pays local and state taxes and contributes $380 million to the economy of the region, he added.
Big River 2, which represents the largest economic development project in Arkansas history at $3 billion, is under construction with anticipated completion in 2024. Mississippi County is considered the largest steel-producing county in the United States.
While some companies are bringing back manufacturing from overseas, Burritt said, “We are a company that never left.”
Osceola Mayor Joe Harris said the steel industry has jump-started additional economic activity. Harris said new housing is under construction in Osceola and nearby towns to accommodate an influx of new residents.
“Our restaurants are full, our gas station lines are long, and we don’t have to send our kids away for jobs,” Harris said. “Y’all, we’re on the way up.”
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, company employees and local officials signed the first coil of the Indux steel that was produced on the new line.