To better serve its automotive customers, NATIONAL STEEL CORP. will add a 500,000-ton-a-year hot-dip galvanizing line at its Great Lakes division in Ecorse, Michigan. The state-of-the-art facility, expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2000, will be able to produce coated products in widths from 28 inches to 72 inches and in gauges from 0.018 inch to 0.08 inch. The company looked at more than 40 greenfield sites in the Midwest before deciding to build the automotive coating line at its Ecorse complex. The fourth-largest integrated steel company in the United States, National Steel is majority-owned by NKK CORP. Its mills in Granite City, Illinois, Portage, Indiana and Ecorse employ approximately 9,400 people and turn out about 6 million tons of flat-rolled products a year.
Frequent collaborators MITSUI & CO., LTD. and STEEL TECHNOLOGIES INC. will build a plant in San Diego, California to slit and cut steel coils mainly for Japanese- affiliated producers operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The trader will own 70 percent of SAN DIEGO COIL CENTER INC., with its Louisville, Kentucky partner putting up the rest of the capital. The venture expects to process about 30,000 tons of steel in the first year of operations, which could start before the end of 1998, and roughly 72,000 tons within five years. While Mitsui runs seven steel service centers here, San Diego Coil Center is the first one west of the Mississippi River. Existing Mitsui-STI steel processing facilities are in Morgan County, Alabama, Greensburg, Indiana and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Commercial production of polycrystalline silicon for silicon wafers has started at MITSUBISHI MATERIALS CORP.'s $150 million facility in Theodore, Alabama, outside Mobile. MITSUBISHI POLYCRYSTALLINE SILICON AMERICA CORP., which employs 100 people, has the capacity to turn out 1,000 tons of polysilicon a year. Most of this output will be shipped to U.S. customers.
An exchange rate of ¥135=$1.00 was used in this report.