Steel Dynamics, Inc. plans to invest $2.2 billion in three new aluminum facilities — a low-carbon flat rolled mill along with two supporting recycled aluminum slab centers. The company aims to bring its high-quality, sustainable, customer-centric approach to the aluminum flat rolled market.
“We are incredibly excited to announce this meaningful growth opportunity, which is aligned with our existing business and operational expertise,” said Mark. D. Millett, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Steel Dynamics. “We have intentionally grown with our customers’ needs, providing efficient sustainable supply-chain solutions for the highest quality products. Thus far, this has primarily been achieved within the carbon steel industry — however, a significant number of our carbon flat rolled steel customers are also consumers and processors of aluminum flat rolled products. Today, we are announcing our plans to broaden our ability to serve our existing and new customers by adding high-quality, low-carbon flat rolled aluminum to our product portfolio. We are also excited to further diversify our end markets with plans to supply the sustainable beverage can industry.”
According to Steel Dynamics, the North American flat rolled aluminum industry has a substantial and growing supply deficit estimated at over 2 million tonnes, based largely on increasing demand from the automotive and sustainable beverage can industries. The lack of aluminum flat rolled availability has impacted automotive producers’ ability to secure supply. The supply deficit is currently being addressed through imports of higher-cost aluminum flat rolled products, which exceeded 25% of North American consumption in 2021.
The new $1.9 billion aluminum rolling mill will be located in the Southeastern U.S. It is being jointly developed with Unity Aluminum, Inc., whose employees bring significant aluminum industry operating expertise to the project. Steel Dynamics will own over 94% of the rolling mill facility, with Unity owning the remaining percentage.
The rolling facility, which will have equipment supplied by SMS group, will be able to produce 650,000 tonnes of finished products annually, serving the sustainable beverage packaging, automotive, and common alloy industrial sectors. The product offering will be supported by various value-added finishing lines, including continuous annealing solutions heat treating (CASH) lines, continuous coating, and various slitting and packaging operations. The rolling mill is currently expected to begin operations in the first quarter 2025.
At full capacity, the rolling mill will require approximately 900,000 tonnes of aluminum slab annually. The mill will be have the capacity to produce and supply approximately 50% of its recycled aluminum slab requirements onsite.
The remaining amount of recycled slab will be provided by the construction and operation of two additional satellite aluminum slab casting centers, one to be located in the Southwestern U.S. and the other in Northcentral Mexico. These facilities will benefit from abundant regional aluminum scrap supply and cost-effective operations. The two facilities are expected to cost approximately $350 million in aggregate, with the Mexico facility expected to begin operations in 2024 and the U.S. facility by the end of 2025. The company will own 100% of the satellite facilities.
Recycled aluminum scrap will be the primary raw material for the aluminum rolling mill and the recycled aluminum slab centers. This is a complementary extension of Steel Dynamics’ metals recycling platform, OmniSource, which is the largest nonferrous metals recycler in North America. The platform has extensive processing capabilities and ready access to new and existing aluminum scrap generators and suppliers. It is expected to supply 100% of the scrap aluminum for these operations.