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Nucor Corp. bringing $1.7 billion steel plate mill to Meade County, will employ 400 during construction

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Groundbreaking has taken place on a $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County for Nucor Corp., that will eventually employ 400, along with 1,500 contractors during construction.

“Nucor Steel Brandenburg will be a difference-maker for its employees, their families and the economy of Meade County and the surrounding region,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Nucor already stands as a major employer in the Commonwealth, and its continued growth helps build a brighter and better Kentucky for our families. I’m grateful to Nucor and anticipate many years of continued success and partnership between Nucor and Kentucky.”

Located in the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park along the Ohio River in Brandenburg, the 1.5 million-square-foot operation will provide Nucor with 1.2 million tons of annual capacity for steel plate production.

The steel plates that will be manufactured at the $1.7 billion plant being built in Meade County. (NUCOR photo)

Nucor executives said average annual pay will be $72,000 for the 400 full-time jobs. Positions include equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff. Executives expect the project also will create an average of 960 temporary construction jobs, peaking at 1,500. The mill is expected to open in 2022.

“A core part of our company mission is to support the communities where we live and work. We have been doing business in the state for more than a decade and have found that the people of Kentucky share our company’s values of hard work, determination and teamwork,” said Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor Corp. “We thank Gov. Beshear, his administration and local officials in Meade County for their support of this project. We look forward to being a part of the Brandenburg community for decades to come.”

Access to the Ohio River will allow Nucor to supply the mill with direct-reduced iron and scrap steel by barge. They will be able to quickly and cost-effectively distribute plate products to customers regionally and nationwide. In using an electric-arc furnace, the mill will take advantage of Kentucky’s highly competitive industrial electricity rates. Last year, Kentucky averaged 5.39 cents per kWh for industrial electricity, second lowest east of the Mississippi River.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler and the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer. The company employs over 26,000 people at more than 300 facilities, primarily located in North America.

In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates employ approximately 2,000 people at numerous facilities, including Nucor Steel Gallatin, Nucor Tubular Products Louisville, Harris Rebar and a 50 percent ownership stake in Steel Technologies. Nucor also owns the David J. Joseph Co. and its multiple recycling facilities across the state, which collect and recycle scrap metal.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $30 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $1.36 billion, creating and maintaining 400 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years, with an average hourly wage of $45.

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