Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Nucor Corp. on breaking ground on the company’s 400-job, $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County, a project expected to employ up to 1,500 contractors during construction.
“Nucor Steel Brandenburg will be a difference-maker for its employees, their families and the economy of Meade County and the surrounding region,” Gov. Beshear said. “Nucor already stands as a major employer in the commonwealth, and its continued growth helps build a brighter and better Kentucky for our families. I’m grateful to Nucor and anticipate many years of continued success and partnership between Nucor and Kentucky.”
Located in the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park along the Ohio River in Brandenburg, the 1.5 million-square-foot operation will provide Nucor with 1.2 million tons of annual capacity for steel plate production. Across the 400 full-time jobs, Nucor executives said, average annual compensation will be $72,000. Positions include equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff. Executives expect the project also will create an average of 960 temporary construction jobs, peaking at 1,500. The mill is expected to open in 2022.
“A core part of our company mission is to support the communities where we live and work. We have been doing business in the state for more than a decade and have found that the people of Kentucky share our company’s values of hard work, determination and teamwork,” said Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor Corp. “We thank Gov. Beshear, his administration and local officials in Meade County for their support of this project. We look forward to being a part of the Brandenburg community for decades to come.”
Logistically, Nucor Steel Brandenburg takes advantage of Kentucky’s key geographic location. Access to the Ohio River will allow Nucor to supply the mill with direct-reduced iron and scrap steel by barge. From the center of the U.S. manufacturing corridor, Nucor Steel Brandenburg will be able to quickly and cost-effectively distribute plate products to customers regionally and nationwide. In using an electric-arc furnace, the mill will leverage Kentucky’s highly competitive industrial electricity rates. Last year, Kentucky averaged 5.39 cents per kWh for industrial electric, second lowest east of the Mississippi River.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler and the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer. The company employs over 26,000 people at more than 300 facilities, primarily located in North America.
In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates employ approximately 2,000 people at numerous facilities, including Nucor Steel Gallatin, Nucor Tubular Products Louisville, Harris Rebar and a 50% ownership stake in Steel Technologies. Nucor also owns the David J. Joseph Co. and its multiple recycling facilities across the state, which collect and recycle scrap metal.
The company recently completed Phase I of a massive, $826 million expansion project at its Nucor Steel Gallatin mill in Ghent, Kentucky. That mill, which produces flat-rolled steel coils, is now in the middle of Phase II. In total, the Gallatin mill expansions are creating 145 full-time jobs.
Nucor’s facilities are part of Kentucky’s primary metals industry, a sector encompassing more than 220 facilities employing over 25,000 people. The industry includes producers and downstream processors of steel, stainless steel, iron, aluminum, copper and brass.
Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner said the company will have a long-lasting influence on the local economy.
“Nucor is a tremendous addition to our community and one that will have a long-term impact on our community’s workforce,” Mayor Joyner said. “I want to thank Nucor for its decision to locate in Brandenburg, and I expect great things for the company in the years ahead.”
Meade County Judge/Executive Leslie Stith noted the significance of Nucor’s job creation in the community.
“I’m happy to see Nucor moving ahead with this project with today’s ground breaking,” Judge/Executive Stith said. “The company’s arrival could be the start of something very special here in Meade County as we look to create more job opportunities for our residents.”
David Pace, chairman of the Meade County-Brandenburg Industrial Development Authority, said he looks forward to what’s next for Nucor and Brandenburg.
“We have long awaited the right opportunity to build Meade County’s industrial presence, and Nucor with its plans for long-term growth is that opportunity,” Pace said. ‘We could not be more excited about what the future holds, and I look forward to working with Nucor well into the future.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) during a special meeting in March 2019 preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $30 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $1.36 billion and annual targets of:
• Creation and maintenance of 400 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
• Paying an average hourly wage of $45 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Nucor for up to $10 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
Nucor also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.