The Australian parent company of a Delta steel plant announced Monday it will finance a local $700 million expansion scheduled for completion in two years.
North Star Bluescope Steel President Robin Davies said early stages of construction on the facility’s addition have begun following a year of planning. The addition is expected to be operational by late 2021, and will add 950,000 metric tons of steel to the 2.3 million metric tons North Star already produces annually, an increase of about 40%.
The expansion will connect directly to North Star’s 593,360 square-foot building at 6767 County Road 9, he said, adding, “It’s a large physical change to the footprint at Delta.” The project will add a furnace and a slab caster to production.
He said the company is working with the State of Ohio and Fulton County on its receipt of permits and incentives. North Star is also arranging for power at appropriate rates.
The expansion will add 90 permanent full-time jobs. Davies said 35 new employees have already been hired through local advertisements. Applicants can visit northstar.jobs or nsbsl.com/careers.
According to North Star information, the plant’s flat-steel product supply has been limited by its capacity. The company sells steel product to more than 130 customers within a 300-mile radius.
Davies said North Star is expanding following an “exceptional” year for the steel plant. He said parent company Bluescope Steel Ltd., based in Melbourne, Australia, decided to add to the Delta plant based on the area’s business-friendly community and impressive work force.
“We already have a successful base business (in Delta). This allows us to use the facility to a greatest extent,” he said.
North Star has inspired related businesses, such as MetalX, a metal scrap processor, to spring up in the area, Davies added. “It’s a success story all around,” he said.
York Township Trustee Robert Trowbridge said it’s a benefit any time new jobs are created and the local tax base increases. He said eventually the township will have to rebuild roads to accommodate North Star’s increased truck traffic.
“They’ve been a great company to work with, and I think they’re a great partner to have in our township,” he said of North Star.
Matt Gilroy, executive director of the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, said Bluescope Steel’s investment is a tremendous boost to the local and regional economy. “(I)t will provide the opportunity for more employment opportunities at the plant, more steel coils that could help us attract other steel processors to the area and support expansions at the regional processing facilities, and it would provide a substantial increase to the local tax base,” he said.
Gilroy said the FCEDC and North Star are working in conjunction with various local, regional, and state entities and regulatory agencies to pave the way for construction. They include the Pike-Delta-York school district, York Township, and Fulton County to complete a property tax incentive within the deal.
“This project would represent the largest one-time business development investment in Fulton County’s history,” Gilroy said. “The original North Star project in the mid-1990s was nearly $150 million less than the projected investment of this project. It’s an exciting time to live and work in Fulton County.”
North Star Bluescope Steel employs almost 400 people. It opened in 1996 as North Star BHP Steel, then underwent its name change in 2003.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.