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ST. JAMES PARISH, LA-Nucor Corp. has applied for a permit to build a $2-billion iron-making facility in the Mississippi River-fronting parish. However, the Charlotte, NC-based company does have sites outside the US under consideration for the new operation.

Nucor has spent two years searching for sites inside and outside the US. According to a press release, its search team has selected the St. James Parish site because of the state’s willingness to move quickly and proposed incentive package, which includes infrastructure improvements. The St. James site is the only one under consideration in the US for the new company, Nucor Steel Louisiana.

If St. James makes the final cut, Nucor plans to build a high-capacity port capable of handling ocean vessels and barges. Representatives from Nucor and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development were unavailable by press time.

If the site is approved by Nucor’s board of directors and local and regional permitting processes go smoothly, the Nucor project would be the first greenfield pig iron facility built in America in more than 30 years. In the press release, Nucor chairman and CEO Daniel R. DiMicco said the facility would create hundreds of jobs in the area while helping the company control its raw materials supply.

Nucor’s initial $2-billion investment covers construction of a manufacturing plant with the capacity of three million tons of pig iron and a coke-making facility. DiMicco said the plant will be an energy-efficient design with carbon dioxide emission controls. The initial investment would directly create 2,000 jobs during peak construction and 500 permanent jobs paying an average annual salary of $75,000.

If a second phase is built, Nucor would be investing an additional $1 billion for another three million-ton blast furnace. Permanent employment would be increased to 750.

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