Big River Steel Breaks Ground on Osceola Steel Mill

OSCEOLA, AR (September 22, 2014) – Big River Steel today broke ground on its $1.3 billion steel mill and recycling facility in Osceola, Arkansas, the single largest private investment in the state’s history. Joining local, state and federal officials for the ceremony were Big River Steel leaders and investors. Big River Steel’s Osceola facility will produce those steels currently under-supplied in the domestic U.S. market while employing more than 500 people with an average annual compensation of $75,000. Construction of the facility will take approximately 20 months from groundbreaking to complete.

Big River Steel announced plans in early 2013 to build the “flex mill”, combining the cost advantages and flexibility of a traditional mini mill with the production capabilities in gauge, grade and width of an integrated mill. The facility will produce a full range of high-strength, light-weight steels used in the automotive industry, wide and thick steels used in the most demanding pipe and tube applications, and electrical steels used in the energy industries. The company officially closed on financing necessary to build the facility in July 2014.

“In my three decades in the steel industry, I’ve been fortunate to be in this position many, many times before,” said John Correnti, Chairman and CEO of Big River Steel. “My team and I have been involved in launching a number of new steel mills, quite possibly more than any other group. Each and every time we have broken ground on a new project, I have been extremely proud of the advances in technology and mill capabilities a new mill has brought to the industry. But never before has the opportunity been as great as I believe it is for Big River Steel – producing not only the highest grades of steel for today, but the highest quality steel grades for the future as well.”

The Big River Steel site covers approximately 1,400 acres in the heart of the United States. This strategic location provides Big River Steel with access to the vast majority of domestic steel consumers as well as raw material supplies (i.e., scrap metal) from across the nation. The site also has direct barge access adjacent to the Mississippi River and direct rail access via BNSF, the largest railroad in North America, as well as numerous highways in close proximity.  These attributes provide Big River Steel with great flexibility in terms of receiving raw materials and shipping flat-rolled steel via barge, rail or truck.

“This is the largest single business investment Arkansas has ever seen, and Big River Steel will draw additional opportunities to Northeast Arkansas,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “Osceola’s workforce made this a destination for Big River Steel, but it took the efforts of many parties, including the Arkansas General Assembly, to make this historic project a reality.”

Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore echoed Governor Beebe’s sentiment, “ Big River Steel locating in Osceola will positively impact many families in the delta for generations.  Helping people help themselves is the greatest accomplishment one can have in this life, and that is what all those involved have done for the citizens of Arkansas and Mississippi County in particular.”