A ceremony was held Wednesday to mark North Star BlueScope Steel’s recent expansion, which opened on May 9. The project, which began in 2019 and cost over $700 million, has created more than 100 new jobs and will increase the plant’s annual production of hot-rolled coil by 950,000 net tons.
“When you make a $700 million investment, that’s no small deal; that’s a big deal. You can’t just pick up a steel mill and move it if things don’t go right,” Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, the event’s keynote speaker, said. “And so, the reassurances from the State of Ohio and local economic development officials, particularly regarding energy, were very important to North Star’s decision. We appreciate the collaboration between the company and our state officials to make sure we could sort out all those issues.”
North Star’s President Doug Lange said Wednesday that the plant continued to run during the expansion. “It took a tremendous amount of coordination to build a steel mill in the middle of another steel mill.”
Lange noted that the new building wouldn’t have been possible without help from the State of Ohio, Fulton County, the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, Jobs Ohio, the local community and North Star’s team members.
“This was a difficult build because of the pandemic,” said Patrick Finan, BlueScope’s Chief Executive Officer, “but we were still able to complete the project. Next month, we’ll be making the first slab off the new caster, which is part of the expansion.”
Attendees enjoyed lunch, video presentations and various speakers, including BlueScope’s Board of Directors, who flew from Australia to the U.S. for the first time since the pandemic began to attend the event. Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Robert Portman sent representatives to formally congratulate North Star on the addition. Following the opening ceremonies, attendees toured the new building.
“We value great companies making great investments, creating great jobs and improving quality of life in communities within Ohio,” said Husted. “North Star is the supply chain for many things that get built throughout the Midwest. This project is important in helping many other businesses get materials that they rely on for success.”
To commemorate the expansion, Mark Vassella, BlueScope’s CEO and Managing Director, presented a large, framed photo of the mini-mill. He also announced that the North Star team earned the CEO’s Health and Safety Excellence Award for 2021.