POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — It’s official. Finally.
On Wednesday, what has been called the largest investment in West Virginia history by state officials, was unveiled with an announcement by Gov. Jim Justice, as well as appearances in Mason County by Nucor Corporation representatives.
Nucor, reported to be the largest steel producer in the United States and a Fortune 150 company based in Charlotte, N.C., will be constructing what a company news release described as a “state-of-the-art sheet mill” in Apple Grove, W.Va. with an investment that is an estimated $2.7 billion.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, upon completion, the mill is expected to create approximately 800 “high-quality” manufacturing jobs. Construction of the facility, which will begin in 2022, will create an additional 1,000 jobs. Nucor employs 28,000 teammates at approximately 300 facilities located primarily in North America. Nucor teammates are “among the highest paid and most productive in the steel industry,” further stated the governor’s news release.
The mill will have the capacity to produce up to 3 million tons of sheet steel per year for the automotive, appliance, HVAC, heavy equipment, agricultural, transportation, and construction markets. It will also include advanced downstream processing capabilities, including a tandem cold mill, annealing capabilities, and initially two galvanizing lines. Galvanizing capabilities will include an advanced high-end automotive line with full inspection capabilities as well as a construction-grade line.
Nucor expects the Mason County facility to be operational by 2024. The company also announced it is considering building a transloading and processing center in the northern part of the state in order to create a broader logistics network to better serve its customers in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions. This facility would create additional jobs in the state.
When asked by Ohio Valley Publishing, Mason County Economic Development Authority Director John Musgrave clarified that $2.7 billion is in reference to the Mason County project only. Musgrave, who has been working with Nucor as well as county and state officials on the project, made brief remarks and introduced Nucor representatives at a small gathering outside Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High School (PPJ/SHS) on Wednesday where Nucor presented Mason County Schools with a check for $1 million. Nucor personnel then later traveled to Crosslight of Hope in Ashton, presenting a check to Mason County Area Food Banks for $100,000 which will be divided between the county’s five local food pantries. More on these donations in an upcoming edition.
A larger gathering had reportedly been planned inside the Wedge Auditorium at PPJ/SHS on Wednesday afternoon with Gov. Justice as an expected speaker, among other dignitaries, but that event was canceled following the announcement of the governor’s COVID-19 diagnosis late Tuesday night, and a smaller welcome event was then moved outside of PPJ/SHS.
“This is a landmark announcement in the history of our state,” Gov. Justice stated via his office’s news release. “Nucor’s brand new facility is going to be a key part of West Virginia’s DNA long into the future. It’s going to change lives by bringing hundreds of great-paying jobs to Mason County, and the economic ripple effects will bring even more goodness to our state.
“I sincerely thank Nucor for their commitment to West Virginia and for allowing us to showcase our ability to compete with other states for major manufacturing facilities like this. From the very first call with their CEO, I knew they shared the values that we in West Virginia share as well, ones that will make us great partners for generations to come. It took a team of people to pull this off, and I am immensely proud of all those involved.”
Members of the Mason County Board of Education and Mason County Commission met separately on Wednesday, finalizing and approving the details of a Payment In Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreement, which will include PILOT payments to the county from Nucor. More on these details in an upcoming edition. As previously reported by the Associated Press, a tax incentive for a potential industrial manufacturing project in West Virginia was also sent to the governor Tuesday following a special session held this week.
“We are incredibly excited to be building this new steel mill in West Virginia. This will be the world’s most advanced sheet steel mill producing the most sustainable steel that will build our nation’s modern 21st century economy,” Leon Topalian, president and chief executive officer of Nucor Corporation stated. “This is a transformational project that will have a significant economic impact in Mason County and surrounding areas. We look forward to being part of the community for decades to come.”
The news release from the governor’s office also noted Nucor produces steel by recycling scrap metal in electric arc furnaces, making the company North America’s largest recycler of any material. This steelmaking process makes Nucor one of the cleanest steel producers in the world and a leader in sustainable steel production, according to the news release.
“West Virginia competed against our neighboring states, especially Ohio and Pennsylvania, to attract the company,” according to the governor’s office. The process began in August 2021 and included site location assistance, data analysis, and relationship developments throughout the state. The coordinated effort of state, local, and regional organizations “made West Virginia a leader during the competitive site search,” stated the news release.
“This is an enormous accomplishment for the great state of West Virginia,” said West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael. “It is an honor to share in this announcement of Nucor’s new location in Mason County. There was a lot of hard work and dedication that went into making this a reality and there’s no doubt that West Virginia is the best place for this steel mill. We give a warm welcome and look forward to supporting the Nucor team as they succeed in West Virginia.”
More on Nucor’s welcome to Mason County on Wednesday, as well as reaction from local officials, in an upcoming edition.
Beth Sergent and Brittany Hively contributed to this story. Additional information provided by Governor Jim Justice’s office.
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