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Big River Steel to get public permit hearing

Keywords: Tags  Big River Steel, air permit, hearing, Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality, new steel mill, Osceola, Ark., Clif Chitwood John Correnti

NEW YORK — The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will hold a hearing July 30 to consider issuing an air permit to Big River Steel LLC, one of the final major hurdles before construction of its proposed $1.1-billion steel mill.

The hearing will allow the general public to make comments concerning construction of the mill in Osceola, Ark., according to Clif Chitwood, Mississippi County economic developer, after which the state agency will review alongside the operating air permit documents from the company.

"It’s just an opportunity for the public to make any comments that they would like to," Chitwood told AMM. "As with any public meeting, you have no idea what will actually happen. But, I expect an air permit to be issued pretty quickly, because obviously, we’re moving closer and closer towards financial closing. I would expect it by September."

Chitwood said that funds must be received from the "handful" of investors for the project in November, and immediately afterwards, the county will purchase property for the mill and begin construction (, April 19).

A draft of Big River Steel’s air permit application shows that the company has plans to build two electric-arc furnaces, as well as ladle metallurgical furnaces, a RH degasser and boiler, and casters. The facility will also have a pickling line, galvanizing lines, annealing furnaces, a decarburizing line, a reversing cold mill, an annealing pickling line and an annealing coating line, among others.

Big River Steel, led by industry veteran John D. Correnti, aims to supply steel sheet to the oil and gas, automotive and electrical industries. The proposed mill, which is set for groundbreaking in November, has been overwhelmingly supported by local legislators because of the promise of new and high paying jobs. Others, though, have opposed the mill on grounds that there is already too much capacity in the U.S. sheet steel market (, March 18).

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