BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Update at 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20
The Blytheville City Council is scheduled to take up a request to issue Act 9 bonds for the project at its meeting later today.
The Blytheville City Council voted Tuesday night to provide the authorization of issuing $230 million in bonds for an expansion at Nucor Steel Arkansas in nearby Hickman.
Mayor James Sanders told Region 8 News that the 5-0 vote helps to cement the business' relationship in Blytheville as well as providing much-needed jobs in the region. Sanders said he believes it is always good to see an existing industry grow and help to invest in the business' future growth.
The bonds - so-called Act 9 Bonds - are used by businesses to help with expansion and growing existing industries. Sanders said the expansion is a key focus for Nucor, which has been in Mississippi County for nearly three decades.
Sanders said officials are proud of the long-term relationship that Nucor has had in Mississippi County.
The vote was unanimously approved, with council member Tommy Abbott being absent.
Updated at 4:03 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20
Company officials announced plans Tuesday to build a specialty cold mill complex that will expand the company's capability to produce advanced high-strength, high-strength low-alloy and motor lamination steel products.
"This specialty cold mill complex supports our strategy of moving up the value chain and growing sales to the automotive market," John Ferriola, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and President of Nucor, said. "It will bring value to all of Nucor's sheet mills by expanding our capability to produce advanced high-strength steels and broadening the automotive capability of our galvanized lines at Nucor Steel Decatur and Nucor Steel Berkeley."
In the announcement, Nucor officials said consulting firm Ducker Worldwide estimated that 4 million tons of advanced high-strength and high-strength low-alloy steels will be needed for the automotive market by 2025.
The specialty cold mill complex will give Nucor the capability to produce products the company currently does not make, adding to Nucor's comprehensive product portfolio and further differentiating Nucor from its competitors, officials said in the announcement. Also, locating the cold mill at Nucor's sheet mill in Arkansas will give the company a transportation advantage over competitors outside the region currently supplying the local market and the growing Mexican market.
"We are excited to bring this expansion to Arkansas that will enable us to efficiently produce products beyond that of any North American mill," MaryEmily Slate, Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel - Arkansas, said. "We would like to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson, our local officials and the entire Blytheville community for their support of this project."
Nucor Steel Arkansas employs 650 people. The addition of the specialty cold mill complex is expected to add approximately 100 jobs at an estimated average annual salary of $80,000.
Updated at 12:56 p.m., Sept. 16:
Blytheville City Council member Stan Parks said Friday that the expansion will provide a much needed boost to the area economy. Parks, who serves as chairman of the council's finance committee, said the project would likely take two years to complete.
The project will involve retrofitting the former JMS steel company facility in the Hickman area, Parks said, noting Nucor plans to use much if not all of the existing building.
As for the financing, Parks said Nucor Steel will use so-called Act 9 bonds that are often used in economic development related projects. While the facility is located out in the county, Parks said the city of Blytheville will serve as the agent for the bond issue for the county and the local school district.
For their work, Blytheville will receive a $20,000 a year administrative fee for the next 30 years, Parks said.
Parks said Nucor has been a great asset to the community and that the project will provide much needed jobs in light of recent layoffs at companies in the Blytheville area.