Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ferrous Processing and Trading Company (FPT) for a total enterprise value of approximately $775 million. Based in Detroit, FPT is among the largest processors and distributors of prime ferrous scrap in the United States, representing approximately 15% of the domestic merchant prime scrap market. The company currently processes approximately 3 million tons of scrap per year, approximately half of which is prime grade. FPT operates 22 scrap processing facilities, with approximately 90% of revenues originating from its Midwest locations, primarily in Michigan and Ohio.
Nucor Corp. announced that its board of directors approved the construction of a new melt shop at one of the company’s existing bar mills in the western United States. The new $100 million facility will have the capacity to produce 600,000 tons annually and create approximately 140 new full-time jobs. Start-up is expected in 2024. Nucor has 15 bar mills strategically located across the country that manufacture a range of steel products, including concrete reinforcing bars, hot-rolled bars, rounds, light shapes, structural angles, channels, wire rod and highway products in carbon and alloy steels. Four of the bar mills have a significant focus on manufacturing SBQ and wire-rod products.
Tenaris plans to restart activity at its two plants in Pennsylvania: the Koppel melt shop and Ambridge seamless pipe mill. The plant in Koppel – the company’s first domestic steel shop – is finalizing an investment announced in 2020 to upgrade its steel bar size capabilities while also incorporating additional improvements in safety and automation. Tenaris has since increased its investment to include the revamping of existing cranes used to feed the furnace with scrap metal and a new production management system to improve process control at the steel shop. The more than $15 million investment is projected to be completed in May with production to start up in June.
Nucor Steel has an extensive special bar quality (SBQ) steel program that dates back to the conversion of its plants in South Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska to handle the product decades ago. In 2002, the company purchased an idled plant in Tennessee that was dedicated to SBQ production.
According to a local report, the Lawrence County Planning Commission accepted a land-development plan for an addition to Ellwood Specialty Steel’s production facility in New Castle, Pa. The plan calls for a 10,800-square-foot addition and a 7,560-square-foot lean-to structure, both at the back of the existing building. The purpose of the expansion is to increase capacity for a product the company distributes, sales of which have been growing, according to a company spokesperson. Ellwood Specialty Steel is a fully integrated producer of tool steels for forging dies, die-cast dies and other tooling applications. The company utilizes primary melting, refining and degassing equipment, along with ESR and VAR processes, to manufacture premium steel ingots.
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.