The Gerdau Steel Mill in Rancho Cucamonga, California, celebrated its 60th anniversary June 21, 2017, by breaking ground on an environmental upgrade to the state’s only remaining full-production steel mill. Dozens of local officials and community leaders attended the celebration, according to Gerdau.
“Today is about celebrating the rich history of our mill and commemorating its role in the community for six decades,” said Peter Campo, president of Gerdau Long Steel North America, headquartered in Tampa, Florida. “It’s also about launching a new era in recycling and steel manufacturing as we break ground on a $22 million investment that will make our Rancho mill one the greenest in the nation, if not the world.”
Mark Olson, vice president and general manager of the Gerdau Steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga, said the new “pulse jet baghouse” environmental project will capture 99.9 percent of the contaminants in the mill’s emissions. Current equipment already captures 99.4 percent of the mill’s emissions, according to the company.
“Gerdau has worked closely with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to develop and analyze these new improvements to the mill’s environmental systems to ensure that we continue to meet federal, state and regional air quality standards for many years to come,” Olson said.
The new baghouse project, which is being built by the SMS Group, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, will be completed in 2018 and follows more than $7 million in other upgrades that Gerdau has made in the mill in the past five years.
Gerdau says it employs approximately 275 steelworkers at its Rancho Cucamonga mill. The mill consumes more than 440,000 tons of scrap metal annually, recycling it into seismic rebar that is used to construct new buildings, bridges and freeways across California. (A booklet on the history of the Gerdau mill in Rancho Cucamonga is available at https://tinyurl.com/Rancho60th.)
The company says rebar from its Rancho Cucamonga mill helped build the Devore Interchange, where the 15 and 215 freeways come together; Levi Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers; and the Wilshire Grand, the tallest building in Los Angeles.
“As a local business and partner for 60 years, the Gerdau mill has been a cornerstone of our community, providing thousands of good jobs to generations of local steelworkers and their families,” said San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “Every day, the Gerdau mill is literally creating the framework for new transportation infrastructure and commerce that helps fuel the economy in our county and across our state.”
Rutherford, who also sits on the board for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, joined California Assemblyman Marc Steinorth; Rancho Cucamonga City Council Member Diane Williams; Fontana, California, Mayor Acquanetta Warren; and Gerdau officials to mark the ceremonial groundbreaking of the $22 million environmental project.
As part of Wednesday’s celebration, Gerdau’s Olson recognized five employees who have worked at the mill for more than 39 years, including Jessie Vasquez, a mechanic in the mill’s roll shop, who recently celebrated his 50th anniversary at the facility.
“Celebrating 60 years in steel manufacturing and recycling is a significant milestone. I believe one thing has made this mill a success over the past six decades—the amazing people who have worked here and who are part of the Gerdau family today,” Olson said. “We’re proud of our past, and we’re excited for our future.”
Gerdau has more than 100 locations in North America and employs approximately 9,000 people in the United States and Canada.