Steel News

North Star BlueScope Nears Decision on Major Expansion

2/25/2019 - North Star BlueScope Steel expects to make a final decision on whether to expand its Ohio sheet mill sometime in the second half of this year, but appears ready to move ahead.

“We believe the project has the potential to deliver compelling returns based on long-term historical spreads and are embarking on final feasibility review,” said Mark Vassella, managing director and chief executive of North Star parent BlueScope Steel Ltd.

In announcing its first-half fiscal 2019 earnings, the company said it is spending about US$50 million on detailed design and engineering work and has moved into the final stage of a feasibility study on the project.

"We've got to tick all the boxes to ensure there's no nasty surprises here," Vassella said, according to The Australian Financial Review. Vassella added that the company wouldn’t undertake the final stage if it were not expecting a positive outcome.

The company last summer announced that it was weighing major expansion of the Ohio plant, one that would bring about a third electric arc furnace and a second caster. The company said the expansion would add between 800,000 and 900,000 metric tons of annual capacity.

The project, expected to cost between US$600 million to US$700 million, would take two to three years to complete. Vassella said low U.S. energy prices, North Star's proximity to customers and healthy steel demand are helping to support the investment.