A Nucor plant in Gallatin | Courtesy Nucor

By Mary Alford | The News-Enterprise

Gov. Matt Bevin said Wednesday’s announcement that Nucor Corp. plans to build a $1.35 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County was both an immediate and long-term economic development achievement.

“This is one of the five biggest economic investments ever made at a single time in the history of Kentucky – since 1792. This is one of the five biggest deals ever made,” he said, noting it also is the largest that has ever been announced west of Interstate 65.

John J. Ferriola

The 1.5-million-square-foot facility, which will sit on 900 acres in the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park along the Ohio River in Brandenburg, will create more than 400 well-paying, full-time jobs, said John Ferriola, chairman, CEO and president of Nucor.

With a production capacity of 1.2 million tons per year, the steel mill will enhance Nucor’s ability to serve customers throughout the region and meet needs for the company’s customers nationwide, Ferriola said. Full-time positions at Nucor pay an average annual wage of $72,000, and include equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff.

“The new plate mill will grow our company’s already significant presence in Ken­tucky. With this announcement, Nucor is currently investing more than $2 billion in our Kentucky operations,” Ferriola said. “We would like to thank Gov. Bevin, officials with the Kentucky Cabinet for Eco­nomic Development and local officials in Brandenburg and Meade County for their help and support with this project.”

David Pace, Meade Coun­ty-Brandenburg Econo­mic Develop­ment chairman, congratulated Nucor and the partners involved in making the region attractive for industrial development.

“We owe huge thank you to Nucor for entrusting Brandenburg and Meade County with being the home of this hugely important project,” Pace said. “The mill’s announcement today further underscores the years of foresight and preparation by our board, city and county leaders, utility partners and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Collectively, we’ve worked to establish Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park and advance it over the years with infrastructure, utilities and due diligence that made it desirable for a great partner like Nucor.”

Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner pointed to the economic benefits of what will become a generations-long partnership.

“This is a banner day for Brandenburg and our city welcomes Nucor with open arms,” he said. “We pledge to help our newest corporate partner make its mill a success and continue the tremendous positive impact for the long-term.”

In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates already employ approximately 2,000 people at Nucor Steel Gallatin, Steel Technologies LLC, Republic Conduit and Harris Rebar, according to a news release from the governor’s office. Nucor also owns the David J. Joseph Co. and its six subsidiary River Metals Recycling facilities across the state, which collect and recycle scrap metal.

The release said Wednesday’s announcement comes six months after the company announced a $650 million, 70-job phase II expansion at Nucor Steel Gallatin, a mill producing flat-rolled coils in Ghent. That project promises to nearly double the mill’s annual capacity to approximately three million tons. Phase I of the Gallatin plant’s expansion, announced in May 2017, included a new building to house galvanizing and pickling lines. That phase, which is expected to open in the first half of this year, represents a $176 million investment and the addition of 75 new full-time jobs, the release said.

“I would dare say that down the Ohio River, especially when you look at the color of the logo of this company … it would be fair that a pretty mighty green wave has come down the river,” Bevin said, eliciting applause and laughter from those gathered Wednesday. “We don’t always like it when the river rises and waves come down, but this is one we are happy to see wash up on the shores here in Meade County.”

Including Nucor’s Bran­den­burg mill, Kentucky’s manufacturing, service and technology sectors, companies have announced more than $19.4 billion in investments during the Bevin administration, which are creating 51,000-plus full-time jobs, the release said.

“We’re excited about this because a town like Bran­den­burg is America at its finest. People here are the type of people who built this country and made America successful, and we must never forget as a country that investing in industries and towns like this all over the country will continue to make our nation successful,” Ferriola said. “We look forward to being part of the Brandenburg community for many decades to come.”

Ferriola also said the mission of Nucor includes supporting the community it is in, stating, “Strong communities create strong business environments.” As part of that mindset, Ferri­ola presented a $100,000 check Wednesday to the Meade Coun­ty Schools district.

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