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Liberty Steel to build new EAF at Georgetown: Update

2019-10-10

Liberty Steel will build a new 500,000 t/yr (551,000st/yr) electric-arc furnace (EAF) at its Georgetown, South Carolina, wire rod mill.

The $25mn investment will match the current melting capacity and is part of a slew of upgrades to the Georgetown mill's melting and casting capabilities, with the company aiming to increase wire rod output to over 400,000 t/yr (441,000 st/yr) in order to serve the automotive and construction industries. While Georgetown has a rolling capacity of 750,000 t/yr, Liberty Steel told Argus it is aiming to melt and roll 400,000 t/yr to line up with the market.

Liberty Steel said the current melt shop has been unable to produce anywhere near its 500,000 t/yr capacity nor has it been able to keep up with investments in Georgetown's rolling mill. The company said the new EAF is necessary for the operation to remain competitive.

During the upgrade, which will take up to nine months to complete when permits are approved, the mill will source billet externally, including from Liberty's mill in Peoria, Illinois.

The plans include structural upgrades, including strengthening of the facility's foundations, for the new mill.

Liberty Steel bought the Georgetown mill from ArcelorMittal in December 2017, reopening the facility in mid-2018.

The meltshop was idled for nearly two weeks in April after a spill from a tundish — a container used to feed molten metal into a mold — damaged electrical circuits and sparked a fire.

Liberty Steel Holdings USA has nameplate capacity of around 1.5mn t/yr, and intends to boost this to 5mn t/yr, primarily through acquisitions. The company is interested in flat products as well as long products.

Liberty Steel is part of Liberty House Group, a London-based international industrial and metals company.

Source: Argus Media