An Austrian company will build a plant for making hot briquetted iron (HBI), a raw material used for making steel, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Port Corpus Christi Authority commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a long-term lease agreement with voestalpine Texas Holding, whose parent company is headquartered in Linz, Austria. (The company does not capitalize its name.)
The steelmaker will lease about 475 acres of upland property and 11 acres of submerged land for an initial lease term of 50 years, with two 15-year options.
It will construct the plant and a 1,060-foot long high-performance dock on the easternmost portion of the port’s waterfront, capable of unloading iron ore pellets and loading HBI.
The planned facilities are designed for an annual capacity of about 2
million tons of HBI and direct reduced
iron DRI. The investment volume is around 550 million euros ($720 million) and, once
operational, the plant will staff about 150 employees. The plant is due
to begin operations in early 2016.
The plant will produce high quality feedstock for steel production and will entirely fueled by natural gas.
“We examined a total of 17 sites in eight countries for this project, the largest foreign investment in the group’s history to date. In the end, Texas was the most convincing in terms of all the key criteria, including logistics, energy supply, a well-educated workforce, and the political environment,” said Wolfgang Eder, chairman of the management board of voestalpine AG, and head of voestalpine’s steel division since March.
He said the plant will provide the company's Austrian steel production sites in Linz and Donawitz with "access to cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly HBI and DRI pre-materials, ensuring their competitiveness over the long-term."
The port said voestalpine’s development reserves part of the waterfront and adjacent backlands for the La Quinta Trade Gateway Multi-purpose Container Facility. - Chris Dupin