Recycling Today published a list and map of electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking facilities just two years ago, but a comparison between the two maps points to several changes that have occurred in the ensuing 24 months. This includes the addition of the Big River Steel mill in Arkansas and the re-emergence of the Bayou Steel name after an investment group purchased two EAF mills (including the Bayou Steel mill in Louisiana) from Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal in the first half of 2016. Also, several mills that are either idled or closed since 2015 have remained on this list and map for reference.
One thing the 2017 map has in common with its 2015 predecessor (and differing slightly from lists in the previous decade) is the high percentage of mills belonging to the market’s biggest players.
Nucor Corp., Charlotte, North Carolina, and Brazil-based Gerdau check in with 18 or more mill locations, outpacing a handful of other multilocation EAF operators, including Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Dallas-based CMC Steel. Most of the remaining companies have one or two mill locations.
The consolidation within the EAF steel sector in America is a concern to many recyclers not only because it reduces competitive bidding for scrap, but also because the major mill players have entered the scrap processing business in a big way.
CMC has scrap processing roots and has long had dual operations, while Gerdau has pursued a strategy of establishing or acquiring scrap facilities (including auto shredding plants) near its EAF mills for several years. Nucor made its entry into the scrap business with the acquisition of Cincinnati-based David J. Joseph Co. in early 2008, while SDI increased its presence in the scrap sector with the 2007 acquisition of Fort Wayne-based OmniSource Corp.