Big River Steel, LLC today announced that it plans to build a $1.1 billion steel mill in Osceola in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
The project will create 525 new and direct jobs with average annual wages and benefits of $75,000. Around 2,000 construction jobs will be required to complete the project.
“A project of this scope will be a catalyst for job creation, investment and economic development beyond this one facility,” said Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. “Building Big River Steel will mean up to 2,000 construction jobs, and it will help us recruit more supplier businesses and steel consumers to Northeast Arkansas.”
Big River plans to produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries. Construction of the mill will take approximately 20 months from ground breaking, which is expected later this year.
“Having lived in Arkansas for over 20 years and having been involved in building and operating two other world class steel mills in the state, I know first-hand that the quality of the work force in Arkansas is outstanding and well suited for the high-paying jobs we intend to create,” said Big River Steel CEO John Correnti. “Arkansas’s geographic location in the heart of the markets we intend to serve, the state’s well-developed transportation infrastructure as well as the availability of reliable electrical power and the ‘can do attitude’ of the government officials in Little Rock, Mississippi County and Osceola make Arkansas a great place for Big River Steel to make its investment.”
The can-do spirit here refers to the Governor agreeing to get the legislature to authorize $125 million in general obligation bond funds for this project.
Out of the $125 million generated from the bond sale, $50 million will be given as a loan to Big River Steel. Another $50 million will go towards site preparation, and $20 million for costs associated with piling – subsurface stabilization. The remaining $5 million is the cost of the bond issuance.
If approved, this will be the first time the state will have used Amendment 82, which allows up to 5 percent of the state’s general revenue budget to be used for bonding of super economic development projects (exceeding $500 million and 500 jobs).
The Big River Steel project is certainly eligible as a super project with $1.1 billion in investments that will create 525 new and permanent jobs.
“The Big River Steel project will change the demographics of Mississippi County and Osceola in particular, now, and for generations to come,” said Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore. “It will continue to improve our economy and will positively impact all our citizens and every aspect of their lives, and every entity in our community.”