JSW Steel invests in Ohio EAF mill

JSW Steel invests in Ohio EAF mill

India-based company says it will spend up to $500 million on the former Wheeling-Pitt and Severstal mill.

The United States-based subsidiary of India-based JSW Steel Group has announced plans to invest as much as $500 million at an electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mill it is acquiring in Mingo Junction, Ohio. Rumors of investors interested in restarting the mill have been swirling since 2016.

JSW Steel has reportedly acquired 83 percent of the Mingo Junction mill in 2018, with the remaining 17 percent to be transferred to JSW after future payments. JSW also owns a steel pipe mill in Baytown, Texas, and announced plans in March to invest $500 million at that site.

The Mingo Junction mill has changed hands several times since being opened by the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh steel company in 2004. It was later operated by Russia-based OAO Severstal and idled by that firm in 2009. A group calling itself Acero Junction Inc. announced its purchase of the property in 2016 and began operating some machinery at the mill in 2017.

The mill includes EAF capacity to produce 1.5 million metric tons of steel per year. The mill also has a 2.8 million tons per year slab caster and a 3 million tons per year hot strip mill, designed to produce a range of steel grades in widths up to 78 inches (2,000 millimeters) wide and between 0.5 inch and 4 inches (1.5 and 10 millimeters) in thickness.

The investment plan from JSW Steel is expected to be implemented in two phases, each expected to cost around $250 million. The first phase would include revamping and restarting the Ohio steel mill’s EAF and slab caster and modernizing the hot strip mill. The steel mill’s EAF, installed in 2004, has been idled since 2009.

The second phase of the development is contingent on market conditions, according to JSW. If it makes sense, the company says it will consider adding a second EAF. The firm cites the abundance of ferrous scrap in the area and the supply of natural gas as reasons to add a second EAF.

“Through the acquisition of Acero Junction, we will enhance our product range as we will be able to supply American melted and manufactured hot rolled coils,” says Parth Jindal, director of JSW Steel (USA) Inc. “It is our intention to further augment our capacity in Acero Junction over the next few years to have a combined capacity of 4 million tons per year steel; 3 million tons per year at Acero and 1 million tons per year at [Baytown].”

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman released a statement saying, “This is great news for eastern Ohio, and I’m excited that JSW Steel chose to invest in a steel manufacturing facility here in Ohio and help boost the region’s economic growth. People who say steel is an industry of the past are wrong. Steel is still very much a part of the present and future of Ohio and the United States.”