March 20, 2013
Austrian Steel Group Plans DRI Plant in Texas
Austrian steelmaker voestalpine Group plans to build a new iron plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. The planned facilities, expected to begin operations in early 2016, are designed for an annual capacity of around 2 million tons of hot briquetted iron and direct reduced iron.
"We examined a total of 17 sites in eight countries for this project, the largest foreign investment in the group’s history to date. In the end, Texas was the most convincing in terms of all the key criteria, including logistics, energy supply, a well-educated workforce, and the political environment," says Wolfgang Eder, chairman of the management board of voestalpine AG and head of voestalpine’s Steel Division.
The plant will provide the company's Austrian steel production sites in Linz and Donawitz with access to cost-efficient and environmentally friendly HBI and DRI pre-materials, ensuring their competitiveness over the long-term. Initially, half of the products will be shipped to the overseas mills and the other half kept in strategic reserve and sold to partners interested in long-term contracts.
The 500-acre site in the La Quinta Trade Gateway in San Patricio County is located on Corpus Christi Bay and has direct access to the sea. The easy access to natural gas in the United States, where it is one-quarter the cost in Europe, makes North America the ideal location for such a facility, Eder says. "In the USA, we can access energy cost efficiently and operate in a politically stable, predictable environment. This investment also provides the voestalpine Group an additional growth option in North America over the long term."