MINGO JUNCTION, OHIO (WTRF) - A multi-million dollar investment in the Ohio Valley's steel industry is already in the process of making some drastic changes.
JSW Steel, India's leading steel company, is investing up to $500 million into its newly acquired facility in Mingo Junction.
"I watched thousands of jobs disappear from Youngstown, Ohio when steel mills were shut down, so this is the flip side of that," said John Hritz, President and CEO of JSW Steel USA. "It's fabulous to be part of it and we're gonna create job security for people for decades to come."
Creating that job security starts with site improvements. JSW Steel is already working on phase one of its investment to revamp and restart the electric arc furnace and the slab caster and modernize the hot strip mill.
"We really want to get that electric arc furnace up as soon as possible so we're producing our own slabs and this facility becomes once again a melt and manufacture facility," Hritz continued.
Hritz predicts that soon there will be a tremendous change that could include adding a second arc furnace if the market is favorable.
"Then it's very likely that we will add a second one because we want to fully utilize the three million ton capacity of this hot strip mill," he continued.
This project will create an estimated 500 new jobs in Mingo Junction.
"We have great talent that engineering talent and operational talent that will be coming in from India. Besides that we will be bringing in thousands of contractors," Hritz explained. "Then at some point there will be a hand off and that hand off will be to all the workers in this area."
The hope is to employ people from the local area, but JSW Steel will also be adding training programs for the new technology it plans to install as part of this investment.
"We are going to build not just training programs, we are going to put in apprenticeship programs," Hritz said. "Even for engineers that come in they need to learn how to work with their hands, so that's the plan. We are going to be doing that at every facility we have across teh country."
JSW Steel has also made the same investment in its facility in Baytown,Texas, totaling $1 billion in investments in the United States in hopes of expanding the steel industry.
"When we are done we will have the highest technology and we will have the lowest cost and the best quality products that we make, any steel products that we make whether they're made in Texas or now here in Ohio," continued Hritz.
He also feels the Trump Administration's tariffs have helped JSW Steel USA.
"It's not protectionism," he explained. "It's really just trying to get an even playing field for companies in this country and look what's happening. To get a billion dollars to spend from a huge conglomerate, our parent, in this country is a phenomenal thing."
Hritz is from Youngstown, Ohio and started working in steel when he as 18-year-old. He said he is excited to bring this investment back to the Ohio Valley.
"This place will be here for a long time to come and the jobs will be really meaningful," he added. "People will be phenomenal training here. That's the plan and that's what we're gonna do."
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