Nucor starts up Louisiana DRI plant

Facility is expected to churn out as much as 2.5 million tons of scrap substitute annually.

January 10, 2014
Recycling Today Staff

Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C., says it started up production at its direct reduced iron (DRI) facility in St. James Parish, La., Dec. 24, 2013.

The company says the quality of the material being produced in terms of metallization and carbon content has improved quickly since startup. Within the first 24 hours of operation, output quality began matching what Nucor calls “best-in-class levels we routinely achieve at our DRI plant that has been operating in Trinidad since 2006.”

Once in full operation, the DRI plant is anticipated to produce 2.5 million tons of DRI per year, making it the largest DRI plant in the world and the first one to operate in the U.S. in several years. Much of the DRI produced will be consumed as a scrap substitute or scrap supplement at Nucor’s 23 electric arc furnace steel mills in the United States.

"We are very pleased to announce this important step in executing our raw materials strategy,” says John Ferriola, Nucor president and CEO, says. “I want to personally thank our team in St. James Parish for their commitment and perseverance working right through the holiday season in achieving this important success.”

The iron ore pellets produced at the plant are stored in three on-site domes. The opening of the DRI plant was pushed back after a storage dome collapsed at the Nucor Steel Louisiana facility in late September 2013. The company says there were no injuries or negative environmental impacts from the collapse, but Nucor had to push back the start date of the facility.