New steel mill means 600 jobs for Corpus Christi

One of the largest steel producers in the country will open a mill near Corpus Christi and create nearly 600 jobs.

A Steel Dynamics subsidiary is spending $ 1.9 billion on the facility outside of Sinton. The South Texas facility will expedite steel deliveries for some of the company’s customers, including the U.S. tube manufacturers.

“We have the ability to deliver steel in weeks rather than months,” said Mark Millett, President and CEO of Steel Dynamics, in a call for earnings on Tuesday.

The mill will use electric furnaces to convert scrap metal into steel sheets and strips. The steel products are used by energy, automotive and construction companies. Steel Dynamics had sales of $ 11.8 billion in 2018.

Based in Fort Wayne, India, the company currently operates six steel mills. The construction of the new mill is planned for the beginning of next year. Operations are expected to begin in mid-2021.

According to the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. most workers at the plant are expected to earn between $ 75,000 and $ 80,000. Bonuses could bring that number to $ 100,000.

The average Steel Dynamics employee made just over $ 110,000 in 2018. The company employs around 8,000 people.

“This is a wonderful place to work that will have a positive impact on the entire region,” said Iain Vasey, president and CEO of Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp., in a statement.

Steel is loaded onto a truck for shipment at NLMK Indiana Steel Mill in Portage, Ind.(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

The project will generate $ 113 to 223 million annually between 2021 and 2035, Steel Dynamics said in a message to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The location provides access to three markets where the company expects steel demand to rise: north and central-central Mexico; the west coast; and Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

Sinton, with a population of just over 5,000, is about 30 miles north of Corpus Christi. Its location less than 200 miles from Mexico helped draw the company in, said Tommy Kurtz, vice president of business and strategic development for the local business development group.

“The fact that we are two and a half hours from Mexico was key,” said Kurtz. “The side they picked is close enough to that [Port of Corpus Christi] but high enough above sea level to avoid flooding. “

About 30% of the mill’s products are shipped to Mexico. The country’s flat steel consumption increased by 40% between 2013 and 2018.

Nearby infrastructure, including the railway lines and the port of Corpus Christi, helped land the project, Kurtz said.

The site is a sorghum field of more than 2,000 hectares. The large size means companies using Steel Dynamics products can move close. Additional development could create up to 1,000 more jobs, said Kurtz.

The steel and aluminum tariffs enacted by the Trump administration last year should boost investment by domestic manufacturers. But they weren’t the determining factor in this project, Kurtz said.

“You have this economic renaissance with the oil and gas industry here,” he said. “With steel, regardless of tariffs, we’re seeing more production here in the US and this is a great example of that.”

The state has awarded a $ 5.9 million grant to the Texas Enterprise Fund for the project. Local officials approved a tax incentive package for the project last spring, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

The corporate fund is the state’s best-known program for attracting business investment. It’s designed to ensure that Texas is ahead when a company is considering locations in and out of the state. The Sinton site has topped listings from communities in Louisiana, New Mexico, and other parts of Texas.