Convent’s Nucor plant starts up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 1, 2014

By Monique Roth

CONVENT – Nucor Corp. recently announced that production started on Dec. 24 at its direct reduced iron, or DIR, plant in St. James Parish. The $750 million DIR facility is projected to employ 150 people, and upon completion will be the largest DRI plant in the world.

The production of the DIR plant marks the first phase of what is slated to be a multi-phased $3.4 billion iron and steel production complex in Convent. The entire complex could employ up to 1,250 workers.

Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker, suffered a setback in September when a dome storing iron oxide pellets at the Convent facility collapsed. Production has begun however “and has continued at planned ramp-up levels since that time,” the Charlotte, N.C., company said in a press release.

St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel said he is encouraged and happy that Nucor was able to kick off production before the first of the year.

“I welcome the day that they announce phase two,” Roussel said, “The numbers look good for local hiring, and it is great to see a corporation of that size doing local business with our small businesses in the parish.”

The four additional phases of the project are: a $400 million second direct reduced iron facility employing 100; a $500 million pellet plant employing 200; a $1 billion blast furnace and coke ovens employing 300; and a $750 million steel mill employing 500. Nucor has not yet detailed the order in which the projects will be completed.