Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg, left, talks with committee members about the proposal for a $247 million economic development project during a special session of the Mississippi Legislature in Jackson, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. Credit: Eric Shelton/Mississippi Today

State lawmakers on Wednesday approved a $247 million tax incentives deal for Steel Dynamics Inc., a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company that already has a manufacturing presence in Mississippi, to expand and build an aluminum mill near Columbus.

Steel Dynamics, a Fortune 500 company founded in 1993, is the third-largest producer of carbon steel products in the U.S. and one of the largest metal recyclers. It owns facilities across the U.S. and in Mexico.

READ MORE: Lawmakers pass $247M in incentives for aluminum mill

The company for the third quarter of 2022 reported record steel shipments of 3.2 million tons, net sales of $5.7 billion and an adjusted net income of $994 million. The company is considered one of the most profitable steel companies in the world and it employs around 10,000 people.

The company already operates a scrap-fed electric arc furnace steel mill in Columbus and plans to build a massive aluminum flat-rolled mill and other new operations in Mississippi that the company says will create at least 1,000 new high paying jobs.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday, after state lawmakers approved the incentive deal, praised Steel Dynamics and the people who work at its existing Columbus plant.

“Do not forget the men and women employed at Steel Dynamics today,” Reeves said. “They would not be investing $2.5 billion today if not for the fact that Mississippians show up every day for work and they produce.”

According to industry reports, electric vehicles are requiring substantially more aluminum than traditional automobiles, and Steel Dynamics is positioning itself to take advantage of this. Company leaders in late summer, when discussing plans for a new plant, said labor and energy costs at their planned facility will be much less than traditional because of state-of-the-art equipment they plan to install. They said the aluminum rolling mill will work along with satellite recycling centers in the U.S. and Mexico.

Steel Dynamics’ existing Columbus steel mill was previously owned by Severstal North America and was bought by Steel Dynamics in 2014. The company said its Columbus mill “is currently the most technologically advanced (electric arc furnace) facility in North America” and can produce 3.4 million tons of steel a year. It serves the auto, agriculture, appliance and construction industries along with HVAC and pipe companies.

In 2021, Steel Dynamics settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after the federal government alleged the company was not complying with emissions standards at two of its facilities in Butler, Indiana. The company agreed to pay a civil penalty of $475,000 and spend $3 million to upgrade its air pollution control equipment.

READ MORE: Odd coalition of Dems, GOP questions governor’s plan to give company millions for aluminum plant

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.