Nucor Corp. broke ground Friday on its $1.7 billion manufacturing plant in Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park along the Ohio River in Brandenburg. The mill is expected to open in 2022.

The 1.5 million-square-foot operation will provide Nucor with 1.2 million tons of annual capacity for steel plate production. It’s expected to create 400 full-time jobs with average annual compensation of $72,000, Nucor executives said.

Positions include equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff. Executives expect the project also will create an average of 960 temporary construction jobs, peaking at 1,500.

“A core part of our company mission is to support the communities where we live and work,” said Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor Corp. “We have been doing business in the state for more than a decade and have found that the people of Kentucky share our company’s values of hard work, determination and teamwork.”

Logistically, Nucor Steel Bran­den­burg takes advantage of Kentucky’s key geographic location. Access to the river will allow Nucor to supply the mill with direct-reduced iron and scrap steel by barge. From the center of the U.S. manufacturing corridor, Nucor Steel Brandenburg will be able to quickly and cost effectively distribute plate products to customers regionally and nationwide.

In using an electric-arc furnace, the mill will leverage Kentucky’s highly competitive industrial electricity rates. Last year, Kentucky averaged 5.39 cents per kWh for industrial electric, second lowest east of the Mississippi River.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler and the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer. The company employs more than 26,000 people at more than 300 facilities, primarily in North America.

In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates employ approximately 2,000 people at facilities including Nucor Steel Gallatin, Nucor Tubular Products Louisville, Harris Rebar and a 50 percent ownership stake in Steel Technologies. Nucor also owns the David J. Joseph Co. and its multiple recycling facilities across the state, which collect and recycle scrap metal.

Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner said the company will have a long-lasting influence on the local economy.

“Nucor is a tremendous addition to our community and one that will have a long-term impact on our community’s workforce,” Joyner said.

Meade County Judge-Executive Leslie Stith noted the significance of Nucor’s job creation in the community.

“I’m happy to see Nucor moving ahead with this project with today’s ground breaking,” Judge/Executive Stith said. “The company’s arrival could be the start of something very special here in Meade County as we look to create more job opportunities for our residents.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $30 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $1.36 billion and meeting annual employment, pay and benefit targets.

Additionally, the finance authority approved Nucor for up to $10 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. The act allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

Nucor also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network which provides no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.

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