Steelmaker ArcelorMittal yesterday announced plans to add a $500 million electric arc furnace at its Calvert mill on the Mobile-Washington county line.
The new furnace will allow the plant to produce 1.5 million metric tons of steel slabs for the hot strip mill. Slab steel is currently imported from Brazil.
Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of the firm, alluded to plans for a major upgrade at the multi-billion dollar mill during a news conference at the close of President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February while the two traded jabs over import tariffs designed to protect the U.S. steel industry.
Construction should take about two years, the company reported. And when complete, the work force is expected to increase by about 300 people.
“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,” Mittal said in conjunction with this week’s announcement. “Furthermore, it aligns with our ambition of producing smarter steels for a better world.”
“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,” added Brad Davey, CEO of ArcelorMittal North America. “This is a logical next step in optimizing AM/NS Calvert’s supply chain. Enhancing our already highly competitive lead times with short lead-time flexibility, combined with our existing world class facilities, will give AM/NS Calvert a decisive competitive advantage. In addition, the USMCA trade agreement is a ‘game changer’ for former NAFTA and as a result, future steel supply chains for the automotive markets will be required to use steel that was created within North America. A new EAF at AM/NS Calvert will further secure ArcelorMittal’s leadership in the North American automotive market.”
The Calvert mill was built for German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp at a cost of about $4 billion and acquired in 2014 by a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and the Japanese firm Nippon Steel Corp. The new owners already have invested some $200 million in upgrades at the facility.
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company, with steel-making operations in 18 countries and reporting 2019 revenues of $70.6 billion.
“Our goal is to help build a better world with smarter steels,” the company says. “Steels made using innovative processes, which use less energy, emit significantly less carbon and reduce costs. Steels that are cleaner, stronger and reusable. Steels for electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure that will support societies as they transform through this century. With steel at our core, our inventive people and an entrepreneurial culture at heart, we will support the world in making that change. This is what we believe it takes to be the steel company of the future.”