Liberty Steel USA will invest $25 million to build an electric arc furnace at the company’s Georgetown, S.C., facility. The move will boost output at the mill, which re-opened in 2018.
Liberty has already invested significant sums to increase the versatility of its rolling mill at Georgetown, in order to serve key markets for wire rod in the south eastern United States.
“We have a very efficient rolling mill at Georgetown and we now want to put a world-class melt shop behind it so we can achieve our goal to become the leading supplier of wire rod to the region and secure the long-term future of the site,” said Michael Setterdahl, CEO of Liberty Steel USA.
Setterdahl said the capacity of the aging liquid steel producing plant at Georgetown was running significantly behind the capabilities of the more modern rolling mill, so a major upgrade is needed to ensure the melt shop can make billets competitively for the rolling mill to achieve its potential.
The company aims to increase wire rod output from the site to more than 400,000 tons annually to serve customers across the region in sectors such as automotive and construction product manufacturing, but in order to do so it needs to upgrade the melt shop to supply competitive high-quality billets.
Work to install the new EAF and upgrade melting and casting facilities is expected to take between 6-9 months once permits are obtained, during which time Georgetown will roll billets sourced externally, including billets from its sister plant in Peoria, Ill.
In addition to the installation of a new EAF, the investment project will include new electrical systems, improvements to water and natural gas supply and ancillary equipment to support improved melt shop operations, along with environmental permits for modifications to regulated processes. In addition, substantial structural upgrades, including strengthened foundations, will be required.