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Gov. Justice, Nucor announce $2.7B steel mill planned for Mason County

MORGANTOWN — The expected news that Nucor Corp. will build a state-of-the-art sheet steel mill became official Wednesday, with press releases from Gov. Jim Justice and North Carolina-based Nucor.

Justice said the investment will exceed $2.7 billion, making it the largest in West Virginia history, as well as the largest single investment Nucor has ever made.

Legislation passed during a two-day special session on Monday and Tuesday, offering tax incentives and channeling money to the Economic Development Department, cleared the path for the announcement.

“This is a landmark announcement in the history of our state,” Justice said. “Nucor’s brand-new facility is going to be a key part of West Virginia’s DNA long into the future. It’s going to change lives by bringing hundreds of great-paying jobs to Mason County, and the economic ripple effects will bring even more goodness to our state.”

He continued, “I sincerely thank Nucor for their commitment to West Virginia and for allowing us to showcase our ability to compete with other states for major manufacturing facilities like this. From the very first call with their CEO, I knew they shared the values that we in West Virginia share as well, ones that will make us great partners for generations to come. It took a team of people to pull this off, and I am immensely proud of all those involved.”

As discussed during the special session, Nucor had also considered sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio for its new plant.

Nucor is the largest steel producer in the United States and a Fortune 150 company based in Charlotte, N.C. It employs 28,000 people at about 300 facilities located primarily in North America.

It produces steel by recycling scrap metal in electric arc furnaces, making the company North America’s largest recycler of any material, Justice said. This steelmaking process makes Nucor one of the cleanest steel producers in the world and a leader in sustainable steel production.

Nucor said in its announcement, “The West Virginia location on the Ohio River provides Nucor with important transportation and logistics advantages, and a strengthened ability to serve customers in the Midwest and Northeast, the two largest sheet-consuming regions in the U.S. When fully operational, the new mill will employ approximately 800 full-time teammates.”

Nucor President and CEO Leon Topalian said, “Our new sheet mill in Mason County will have unmatched capabilities that will enable the continued expansion of high-quality, low-carbon steels, building on our industry-leading offerings. We are pleased to create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs, and position West Virginia as a leader in clean steel production. We are also excited to create substantial long-term value for investors through this high-return investment, which will help drive Nucor’s continued growth.”

The mill is expected to create about 800 manufacturing jobs, Nucor said. Construction will begin this year and will create an additional 1,000 jobs. Nucor expects the Mason County facility to be operational by 2024.

Nucor said the new sheet mill is expected to cost about $2.7 billion and have the capacity to produce 3 million tons of steel annually. The new mill will be equipped to produce 84-inch sheet products, and among other features, will include a 76-inch tandem cold mill and two galvanizing lines.

Galvanizing capabilities will include an advanced high-end automotive line with full inspection capabilities as well as a construction-grade line. In addition to its advanced capabilities and optimal strategic location, the new greenfield mill will have a significantly lower carbon footprint than competitors who have historically supplied the region.

Construction is expected to take two years pending permit and regulatory approvals, Nucor said. Additional sites in Northern West Virginia are also under consideration for a transload and processing facility.

John Farris, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel West Virginia, said, “We thank Gov. Jim Justice, Secretary Mitch Carmichael and the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Speaker of the House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw, Senate President Craig Blair, and the local officials in Mason County for their partnership and support of this project.

“We look forward to breaking ground in Mason County,” he said, “and becoming an active member of this community by partnering with colleges and universities on workforce development programs, supporting veterans’ organizations and local food pantries, and working with opioid recovery programs that will provide meaningful pathways to jobs.”

Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said, “This is an enormous accomplishment for the great state of West Virginia. It is an honor to share in this announcement of Nucor’s new location in Mason County. There was a lot of hard work and dedication that went into making this a reality and there’s no doubt that West Virginia is the best place for this steel mill. We give a warm welcome and look forward to supporting the Nucor team as they succeed in West Virginia.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito commented, “One of the ways we can make West Virginia a more attractive place for businesses to grow and thrive is by making sure we have the tools needed to compete with the economic incentives other states across the country are offering. Today’s announcement that Nucor will be establishing roots in Mason County is proof that West Virginia can deliver this type of environment.

“At the federal level, we stepped forward and delivered a bipartisan infrastructure package, which is now law, that will help address our nation’s core infrastructure challenges. But, materials are needed to deliver these solutions. Nucor’s investment means we will not only be able to manufacture these needed materials, but we will also be able to manufacture them right here in West Virginia.”

Sen. Joe Manchin said, “The significant investments made through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have made West Virginia an even more attractive location to organizations like Nucor and as a result we will continue to attract exciting economic development investments of this magnitude that are transformative for the region and our people.”

Rep. David McKinley said, “Good roads, access to water and sewer, and a reliable and fast internet connection are all important factors when companies choose a location. That is why prioritizing our state’s infrastructure is essential and will pay off with long-term investments like the one Nucor is making.”

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