Osceola, Arkansas-based Big River Steel (BRS) says it has successfully started up the second phase of its scrap metal recycling and flat-rolled steel production facility. The $716 million expansion will double BRS' production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually.
Originally slated to be commissioned on Jan. 27, 2021, the mill’s second electric arc furnace, ladle metallurgical station, thin-slab continuous caster, tunnel furnace and hot mill downcoiler were brought online more than two months early and are already being used to produce steel, the company says. BRS adds that it plans an aggressive ramp-up to reach rated capacity in less than five months, meaning the company will produce approximately 5,000 tons of steel per employee per year, an increase of almost 66 percent from the 3,000 tons of steel per employee currently produced.
“When describing the success of our Phase Two construction efforts, I am extremely proud to be able to use my five favorite words: ‘ahead of schedule’ and ‘under budget,’” Dave Stickler, BRS chief executive officer, says. “This achievement is a testament to the hard work and can-do attitude of our employees.”
Jim Bell, chief executive officer of BRS Construction Advisory Group LLC, says, “Being able to successfully complete a $700 million construction project in the face of the COVID pandemic is a tremendous accomplishment. The entire Big River Steel family is extremely proud of what we have accomplished.”
The company says this expansion will enhance its product capabilities, further improve the efficiency of its operations and serve as the base for incremental expansion projects targeted at the most demanding steel grades, including those used in hybrid and electrical vehicles.