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Braidy Industries announces Kiewit as contractor for construction of $1.5 billion Ashland rolling mill

By Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

Braidy Industries will begin the “mission of rebuilding Appalachia” after selecting Kiewit as its construction partner for the $1.5 billion aluminum rolling mill in northeastern Kentucky.

Kiewit will be the company’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor for Braidy Atlas, the greenfield aluminum mill, Braidy Industries announced on Thursday. SWS Group and EBNER Industries were also selected as equipment and furnace providers, respectively.

“I’d like to thank our partners, Kiewit, SMS and EBNER for contributing their technology and expertise to our mission of rebuilding Appalachia,” said Craig Bouchard, the chief executive officer of Braidy Industries. “We could not have imagined a better team.”

Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard says he is ready to begin the “mission of rebuilding Appalachia” after partnering with Kiewit on construction to build an aluminum rolling mill in northeastern Kentucky. (Photo by Mark Maynard, Kentucky Today)

This partnership represents a major step forward in the construction of Braidy Industries’ rolling mill, Braidy Atlas. With a dedicated management team alongside efficient onsite staff, the mill is on schedule for the first production in 2020. Once complete, Braidy Atlas will be the lowest cost aluminum mill in the world, Bouchard said.

Braidy Atlas will be the first Greenfield aluminum mill in North America in more than 35 years, the most technologically advanced rolling mill in the world, and the first ever to be fully-optimized from the ground up for automotive manufacturing. The site is 104 inches through the entire production line, making it the widest in North America from start to finish.

“We are excited to have been chosen by Braidy Industries and look forward to designing and building this important project,” said Tom Shelby, executive vice president of Kiewit Corporation. “We believe our strong safety and performance track record, as well as our extensive experience as an EPC contractor, will help ensure the overall success of this landmark aluminum mill.”

Braidy Industries and Kiewit reached an agreement to negotiate a full turnkey EPC contract reflecting Kiewit’s capabilities as one of the largest construction and engineering organizations in North America.

Before Braidy Industries, which broke ground in June, announced its arrival in spring of 2017 that is was going to build an aluminum mill that would bring 550 high-paying, permanent jobs to the region, the economy was in the tank. The groundbreaking came two and a half years after AK Steel laid off more than 600 workers from its Ashland Works plant and CSX cut back on workers. It follows three decades of overall decline in Eastern Kentucky coal jobs, a workforce Braidy intends to tap.

The 1.8 million-square-foot facility will rise from more than 240 acres in the EastPark Industrial Center near Ashland. As scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2020, the mill’s production capacity could reach 300,000 tons of aluminum alloy sheet and plate a year, mainly for the automotive industry. Opportunities for future production expansion exist, as well as plans to supply the aerospace and defense industries. The company is already sold out for its first seven years, said Bouchard.

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