DRI plan to help Nucor weather 'tsunami': CEO

Jul 11, 2013 | 04:52 PM | Anne Riley

Tags  Nucor Corp., direct-reduced iron, DRI, John Ferriola, Anne Riley

NEW YORK - A need to lower costs and secure raw material supply in an increasingly competitive global steel environment is the driving force behind Nucor Corp.’s decision to expand its direct-reduced iron (DRI) capacity, president and chief executive officer John Ferriola said in an interview.

“It’s all part of this big picture. We recognize that with the way the world is going and the way steel capacity in the world is growing and the way that demand is flat or decreasing in the world, we’ve got to be the low-cost producer,” Ferriola told AMM in New York. “We recognize that in the grand scheme of things, we’ve lost or reduced that raw material competitive advantage and we need to get it back. And the way we’re going to get it back is through DRI.”

Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, which already operates a DRI facility in Trinidad, during the third quarter is expected to bring online a 2.5-million-ton-per-year DRI unit in Louisiana and is permitted to build a second facility of the same size at the St. James Parish, La., site. If it builds the second facility, it will ultimately have about 7 million tons of captive DRI capacity in its portfolio of assets.

The decision to expand Nucor’s DRI capacity stemmed in large part from a need to secure iron units for the long term, according to Ferriola. A major scrap consumer, Nucor in 2008 bought ferrous scrap broker David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ) in an effort to better secure its scrap supply. But with more and more secondary material now slated for export, Nucor decided it was time to also secure input material in the form of DRI, he said.....

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