Nucor Corp. has reaffirmed the possibility of building a steel
mill or blast furnace at the site of its direct-reduced iron
(DRI) facility in St. James Parish, La.
The 4,000-acre site
gives the company scope to add steelmaking capacity or revisit
its original plan for a blast furnace operation, Nucor chief
executive officer John Ferriola told delegates at
AMMs DRI & Mini-mills Conference in New
"Given the large size
of it, theres other things we might do. Were still
considering putting in a blast furnace and coke ovens there,"
Ferriola said. "Frankly, we might put a steel mill in
Louisiana. We have 4,000 acres to work with, (so) theres
a lot we can do. Its a fantastic location."
that the facility is expected to begin production at the end of
this month and be "running at full steam" by the end of 2013,
adding that the Charlotte, N.C.-based company is considering
selling DRI to other consumers as the plant expands its
"With the first unit
well be consuming quite a bit ourselves. But were
considering that very seriously, though the second unit will be
a greater probability of selling DRI into the merchant market,"
he said. "Weve been approached by several companies
looking to have a long-term offtake agreement for our DRI, and
were considering that."
the change in feedstock mix is likely to have a wider impact on
pig iron pricing. "We currently use quite a bit of pig iron,
but clearly as we move forward that mix between pig iron and
DRI will change. If that happens, we may see a difference in
the pricing of pig iron," he said. "If that happens, well
re-evaluate the situation. We dont have a preference; an
iron unit is an iron unit is an iron unit. The addition of 2.5
million tons of DRI is not enough to displace our needs for
(hot-briquetted iron) or pig iron entirely; all it does is give
us a little more flexibility."
He said the
companys pursuit of controlling more of the raw materials
it consumes may extend to iron ore. "Were continuously
looking for a bright opportunity to have more iron ore under
our own control. Weve looked both domestically and
internationally, but to date, honestly, we havent found
the right proposition."