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Texas iron, austrian voestalpine style

May 31, 2013

Customers already lining up for new voestalpine plant scheduled to open outside of Corpus Christi in 2016

Following a March decision by the Austrian conglomerate voestalpine Group to build a new type of iron plant just outside the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, there is already significant interest from potential customers in the sponge iron to be produced at the plant. The first potential customer--Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), Mexico’s largest steel manufacturer--has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase HBI (hot briquetted iron) from the plant, which is designed for an annual capacity of two million tons of the highest quality HBI.

voestalpine is investing an estimated EUR 550 million in the new direct reduction plant in Texas, which will employ approximately 150 workers and has direct deep-sea access to the Gulf of Mexico. Deliveries are due to begin directly after the planned start of plant operations in the beginning of 2016. Working with pre-concentrated iron ore (iron ore pellets), the direct reduction plant will produce high quality DRI/HBI (“sponge iron”) of a quality comparable to the highest quality scrap or pig iron and therefore an excellent pre-material for the manufacture of crude steel. In contrast to using pure coke-based blast furnaces, the planned direct reduction plant will exclusively use the much more environmentally-friendly natural gas as the reducing agent.

The voestalpine Group is a steelmaking, processing, and technology group that operates worldwide and manufactures, processes, and develops high-quality steel products through 500 production and sales companies in more than 50 countries on five continents.  The Group is one of the leading partners to the automotive and domestic-appliance industries in Europe and to the oil and gas industries worldwide.  In addition, voestalpine is the world market leader in railway switch technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections.