Nucor Brandenburg sign construction site 10-23-20

Charlotte-based Nucor Corp. formally started work Oct. 23, 2020 on a $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing plant in Brandenburg, about 45 down the Ohio River from Louisville.

BRANDENBURG, Ky. (WDRB) – Charlotte-based Nucor Corp. formally started work Friday on a $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing plant in Brandenburg, about 45 down the Ohio River from Louisville.

When it opens in 2022, the mill is expected to employ 400 people earning average wages of $35 per hour, or $72,800 a year, according to documents submitted to a state board that approved $40 million in potential public subsidies for the project over 15 years.

First announced in March 2019, the mill was a big economic development win for the administration of former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who would go on to lose his reelection bid eight months later.

In a press release, Gov. Andy Beshear said the mill, called Nucor Steel Brandenburg, “will be a difference-maker for its employees, their families and the economy of Meade County and the surrounding region.”

Nucor already has a presence in Kentucky. It’s in the middle of an $826 million expansion of its Gallatin mill in Ghent, Ky., which makes flat-rolled steel coils.

Nucor also owns Nucor Tubular Products in Louisville, Harris Rebar and a 50% stake in Steel Technologies.

The Brandenburg mill, in the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park, will allow Nucor easy access to the Ohio River to move direct-reduced iron and scrap steel by barge, according to a Beshear news release. The company is also taking advantage of Kentucky’s cheap, largely coal-fired electricity for industrial customers.

"This location on the Ohio River was another important factor in selecting this site," said Nucor Vice President Al Behr. "Being on the Ohio River gives us great access to customers in the Midwest, the largest plate consuming market in the US.

The mill will employ “equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff,” according to the release.

"At 1.7 billion dollars, the steel mill we're breaking ground on today is the single largest investment in the history of our company," said Nucor CEO Leon Topalian.

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Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.