aluminum 304 scrap
The proposed SDI facility in Mississippi will require approximately considerable amounts of aluminum scrap supply annually.
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Update: SDI confirms Mississippi site selection

Metals company will build its first aluminum rolling facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

November 2, 2022

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Steel Dynamics Inc. has announced the selection of Columbus, Mississippi, as the location for its previously announced greenfield recycled-content flat-rolled aluminum mill. 

SDI describes Columbus as “strategically located within the targeted Southeast market, bringing numerous competitive customer, recycled material and renewable energy advantages to the project.” The company already operates a scrap-fed electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mill in the east-central Mississippi city.

Final site determination for the project, given a $2.2 billion price tag by SDI in its initial announcement, is “subject to the anticipated receipt of necessary permits and continued state and local government support,” says the metals company.

“We are eager to expand our presence in Columbus, and we deeply value the warm welcome and support that we have received,” says Mark D. Millett, board chair, president and CEO of SDI. He cites “Gov. Tate Reeves and the state of Mississippi, as well as leaders from the Mississippi Development Authority and local leaders from the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors” and other regional agencies as those extending the welcome.

Reeves sent a Twitter message earlier this week saying he had called the Mississippi legislature into session to approve a number of state-granted incentives so the project could move forward. 

According to a report from the Associated Press, Mississippi lawmakers approved those incentives Nov. 2, which will provide SDI with nearly $247 million in state incentives through the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority. The report says many legislators voted on the incentives without knowing the name of the company.

A statement on Reeves’ website says these funds will be used for site acquisition and site preparation, infrastructure improvements and workforce training. Lowndes County also is providing land and public infrastructure, and the Tennessee Valley Authority and 4-County Electrical Power Association also are assisting with the project.

In addition, SDI’s joint venture SDI Biocarbon Solutions LLC will construct a biocarbon production facility that is expected to be completed in late 2023.

Millett continues, “We are eager to move this significant growth investment forward. We have intentionally grown with our customers’ needs, providing efficient sustainable supply-chain solutions for the highest quality products. Thus far, this has primarily been achieved within the carbon steel industry—however, a significant number of our flat-rolled carbon steel customers are also consumers and processors of aluminum flat rolled products. This investment broadens our ability to serve our existing and new customers by adding high-quality, low-carbon footprint flat-rolled aluminum to our product portfolio.”

He says feedback from potential buyers of the metal to be produced has been positive. “Our customers are excited for us to enter the aluminum flat-rolled market, as we have been discussing plans for several of them to co-locate on-site with us,."

Millett adds, “These customers would experience a significant logistics savings, working capital efficiency, and decarbonization benefits, compared to their current supply-chain configurations.  We continue to grow increasingly excited about the expansive opportunities and long-term value creation our growth strategy provides us.”

Lowering its investment figure and the capacity level from its initial announcement, SDI says, “The planned $1.9 billion aluminum flat rolled mill is designed to have an annual production capacity of 650,000 tons of finished products, serving the sustainable beverage packaging, automotive and common alloy industrial sectors.”

Regarding the recycling aspects of the planned mill, SDI states, “The company’s focus on decarbonization will also be applied to this aluminum operation, including plans to use a significant amount of pre- and postconsumer aluminum scrap in its production process, supported by the company’s metals recycling platform, which is the largest nonferrous metals recycler in North America.”

In a 2021 ranking of nonferrous metals recyclers in North America, Recycling Today magazine has SDI business unit OmniSource Corp. ranked as the largest nonferrous recycler with auto shredding operations.

Shortly after the initial announcement about the facility was made in July, SDI Investor Relations Manager Tricia Meyers told Recycling Today, “Steel Dynamics expects to benefit from compelling incentives from the state and local governments keen to bring the project to their communities and based on customer locations and access to aluminum scrap and other raw materials, we plan to locate the rolling mill in the southeastern United States.”

At that time, SDI indicated its planned aluminum rolling mill will require approximately 900,000 metric tons of annual aluminum slab supply. The rolling mill likely will supply approximately 50 percent of its recycled aluminum slab requirements from furnaces on site, with the remaining amount to be provided by the construction and operation of two additional satellite recycled-content aluminum slab centers: one to be located in the southwestern U.S. and the other in north central Mexico, the firm projected.