Nucor adding $230M cold mill

Friday, April 13, 2018
State and local leaders join Nucor executives during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nucor Steel Arkansas cold mill on Thursday.

HICKMAN — Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Arkansas Mary Emily Slate welcomed Gov. Asa Hutchinson and an audience of politicians, steelworkers and community members to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the plant to celebrate the new cold mill expansion on Thursday.

The $230 million expansion will bring around 100 new manufacturing jobs to northeast Arkansas. Hutchinson addressed the crowd regarding the new mill, touting what the expansion means for the state.

“Well, it means first of all that we are a good partner with them, that we are able to compete with other states and we won because we have a pro-business environment," Hutchinson told the CN after the ribbon-cutting. 'We are willing to work with them in terms of their infrastructure and their workforce training. Whenever they see that, they say that the state is a good partner, and we are going to invest in Arkansas…it means for us more employees that are providing for their families, buying local goods from local merchants, paying sales tax in the county and paying property tax. This is good for our state."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a ribbon-cutting for the new Nucor cold mill.

Hutchinson also commented on the low workforce numbers in Mississippi County. “First of all, we increase our training. We put a work requirement in for those able-bodied people that encourages them to get more training and move up the economic ladder. Also, it is great just how I mentioned, we got people that have moved here from South Carolina and Alabama and so that is a combination of increasing our workforce here but also increasing the talent that moves here and that is how we grow as a state.”

Slate spoke about the advantages that the new facility will bring to Nucor in the future, commenting on Nucor’s commitment to the community.

“It will allow us to make cutting-edge steel here in Hickman well into the future. This investment demonstrates Nucor’s ongoing and long-term commitment to this community and our teammates,” Slate said.

Nucor’s Executive Vice President for flat-rolled products, Ladd Hall, was in attendance at the ceremony. Hall stated that he was always excited to visit the Hickman facility.

“In my mind, we are just getting started. We’ve done garbage cans from automobiles…but today we are talking about a specialty cold mill that is going to go through for the next generations. We are going to be able to produce material that has never been produced before. This will be the first facility in North America to be able to produce this kind of steel. We are going to do high-strength steels; we are going to do high-strength, low-alloy steels, and third generation steels. We are going to go beyond the limits of what anybody thought possible,” Hall said.

Nucor Ceo John J. Ferriola was also present for the event. Ferriola stated that the facility in Hickman has had a great year and that he looks forward to an even better year going forward.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we were making garbage cans. It was only back about 20 years ago and there were a lot of questions about whether a sheet mill could succeed in the middle of Arkansas but it is doing extremely well, so thank you for that,” Ferriola said.

Slate stated that this mill will be able to take hot band and could reduce it to make high-strength materials. This is the first facility of its type in North America.

“This was announced last September…the construction's started and we are getting ready to place equipment,” Slate said.

gwilliams@blythevillecourier.com