Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Big River Steel Commissions First Equipment at Osceola Flex Mill™

OSCEOLA, AR March 18, 2016 – Big River Steel today announced it successfully began processing steel this week with the commissioning of its batch anneal furnaces and skin pass mill. This is the first step in a phased start-up for bringing equipment on line that will last throughout the year at the company’s Flex Mill™, a $1.3-billion steel mill located approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. When fully operational, the Flex Mill™ will produce 1.6 million tons of the niche and specialty steels currently under-supplied and much in demand in the North American market.

“The successful start-up of two of our operating units, less than twenty months after forming our company and breaking ground on our project, is yet another significant accomplishment for Big River Steel and our employees,” said Dave Stickler, chief executive officer for Big River Steel. “Working closely with our technology partner. SMS Group, we look forward to producing a full complement of high-quality, value-added steels in an environmentally friendly and energy efficient manner.”

“A project like this is years in the making,” said Mike Preston, executive director for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “It starts with a vision and that vision was from John Correnti. It is so rewarding to see that vision becoming a reality, especially as it brings high-paying jobs to Arkansas.”

The batch anneal operation and skin pass mill are part of Big River Steel’s finishing mill where steel undergoes intense processing to meet customers’ final demands. The entirety of the steelmaking technology being installed is unique within the industry and the finishing mill area is but one of the components that differentiates the Flex Mill™ from other steel producers in North America.

“Our Flex Mill™ is based on equipment and technology that is the newest in the industry, and will allow us to make the challenging steel grades that manufacturers require today as well as for years to come,” said Mark Bula, chief commercial officer for Big River Steel. “Being a Flex Mill™ is a lot more, however. It is a philosophy that underpins everything we do. Big River thrives on innovation and an entrepreneurial approach to our industry. That is the mindset of everyone who has come to work with us.”

Big River is currently in the process of hiring the 425 employees it will need to run its operations, with those positions having an average annual compensation of more than $75,000. Big River Steel is the single largest private investment in the history of the state of Arkansas.

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