United States Steel Corp. announced a joint-venture partnership agreement under which it has taken the first step toward acquiring Big River Steel through the purchase of a 49.9% ownership interest for approximately $700 million in cash, with a call option to acquire the remaining 50.1% within the next four years. U.S. Steel has committed financing to execute the transaction. Big River Steel operates an LEED-certified, Flex Mill in northeast Arkansas that is, according to the company, the most advanced EAF-based flat-rolled mill in North America. Big River Steel produces advanced automotive steels and electrical steels and provides services to customers in the automotive, energy, construction and agricultural industries. The company’s recently announced Phase II-A expansion is expected to double the mill’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually.
Steel Dynamics Inc. awarded SMS group an order covering the supply of a complete steel production line for its new mill in Sinton, Texas. Germany’s SMS group will supply two direct-current electric-arc furnaces (DC-EAF) having a capacity of 190 tons each, two twin-ladle furnaces and a double vacuum tank degasser. The line, which is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2021, will enable SDI to produce thin slabs with thicknesses of up to 5.2 inches (130 mm) and slab widths of up to 84 inches (2,134 mm). SMS group will also supply electrical and automation systems as well as technical support during installation and commissioning, which is scheduled for mid-2021.
JSW Steel plans invest approximately $1 billion to ramp up the production capacity at its Vijayanagar plant in Karnataka, India, to 18 million metric tons per year from the current 12 million metric tons per year. A current expansion project, which will raise production at the plant from 12 to 13 million metric tons per year, includes the revamp and capacity upgrade of blast furnace-3 to improve hot metal availability. The company will also modify and enhance the capacity of its melt shop, its flat and long products mills and allied facilities to utilize the additional hot metal output. This project will be complete by March 2020.
Improvements in steel manufacturing processes have yielded advancements in the purity of steel that, in turn, yield higher-quality end-use products. Clean steel is produced by judiciously controlling parameters in melting, refining, degassing and casting operations. The demand for clean steels will continue to increase due to the global push for energy efficiency and stricter CO2 emission regulations.
Steel is an amazing material when you consider its versatility. Steel can achieve the needed characteristics for a vast array of end products; it is relatively low cost compared to many other materials; it is endlessly recyclable without loss of property; and it can be mass produced, with annual global production of over 1.5 billion tons.