One of the three storage domes located at Nucor's (NYSE: NUE ) nearly completed direct reduced iron (DRI) plant in St. James Parish, La., collapsed yesterday, the company announced this morning. The company said no one was injured in the collapse, nor was there any environmental damage.
The new $750 million plant, which has been under construction for two years and is the first phase of a $3.4 billion steel complex, was reportedly scheduled to begin production within a few weeks. However, following the damage to one of its DRI storage domes, Nucor now expects it will be delayed until the end of the year, according to its statement. An investigation into the cause of the collapse is under way.
The sheriff of St. James Parish, Willy Martin, told local TV station WBRZ the collapse was initially reported as an explosion, but he later learned it was due to a "structural failure."
DRI is used by manufacturers in the making of steel, Nucor's primary business, and the three domes will house the iron ore pellets used to make DRI. Once the new facility is at full production capacity, Nucor said it will generate 2.5 million tons of DRI a year, making it the largest plant of its kind in the world.
Nucor said that it has already hired 140 of the planned 150 employees for the site. Nucor did not respond to inquiries regarding the financial impact of the production delay, or if the 140 employees already hired would be affected.