LA Firm Secures $21M For Oklahoma Steel Mill Project

23 March 2016

A Los Angeles-based company has secured $21 million in New Markets Tax Credit funds to build an environmentally sustainable steel manufacturing facility.

When completed in late 2017, The Commercial Metals Co. micro steel mill will utilize a production line process called “continuous-continuous,” powered by an electric arc furnace.

The steel mill is expected to be capable of producing 380,000 tons of steel rebar from recycled scrap.

The new mill will support 300 jobs in a census tract with a 13.1 percent unemployment rate, the company said. The steel mill site is located within a multicounty area designated as a federal Promise Zone for the Choctaw Nation.

“This project embodies everything we work so hard to accomplish with each of our NMTC (New Market Tax Credit) investments,” Deborah La Franchi, co-founder and president of National New Markets Fund, said in a statement.

“It will have an immensely positive impact creating jobs for the Choctaw Nation, while also helping advance a U.S. industry that needs innovation to compete globally,” La Franchi said.

It is anticipated that the new micro mill facility will reduce CO2 emissions by at least 58 percent compared to a traditional iron ore based steel plant.

Gases produced in the steel-making process will be used to preheat scrap, which in turn will reduce electricity consumption.

The mill will also employ air filtering and recycling technology to enhance recovery and reuse of common steel-making byproducts. Water used in the process will be recycled to reduce discharge.

“Our nation here in Durant lives up to its designation as a Promise Zone when projects like the CMC steel mill bring jobs and economic opportunity,” said Gary Batton, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “The funding that makes this project a reality will help create a better standard of living for our people.”

The $21 million in NMTC allocation from National New Markets Fund will partially finance the purchase of equipment for the new facility. Additional funding partners include Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc., Midwest Renewable Capital and U.S. Bank. U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, serves as tax credit investor.

New Markets Tax Credits were established by Congress in 2000 to stimulate investment and economic growth in designated low-income communities.

The tax credits are designed to raise investor capital, and leverage public and private funding to provide borrowers, such as Commercial Metals Co., with financing in the form of favorable rates and flexible below-market terms.

National New Markets Fund invests in projects that serve low income communities across the U.S. The Fund has received $427 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and has invested in 32 projects to date.


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