About 14 months since breaking ground on the project, the Golden Triangle Development LINK hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new $100 million paint line at Steel Dynamics, Inc.
The Indiana-based company announced plans for the expansion, which has added more than 40 jobs to the steel mill, in May 2015.
Madhu Ranade, vice president and general manager for the Columbus division’s Flat Roll Group, said the project lost 53 days of construction time to rain after the Jan. 26, 2016 groundbreaking and still finished ahead of schedule.
The paint line, located on SDI’s campus, produced its first painted steel roll on Dec. 4, 2016. The facility can process up to 600 feet of steel a minute and turn out hundreds of tons of painted steel per day. The line is 1,100 feet long and housed in a 275,00 square-foot facility.
Ranade said the new paint line can meet the color needs of any client, with more than 9,800 colors available.
“Now we have 46 SDI Columbus employees here who are ready to paint steel that’s going to go into your appliances, into your building roofs, into your building panels, heating and air conditioning units, electrical fixtures and garage doors,” Ranade said.
Gov. Phil Bryant, who spoke during the ceremony, lauded the region’s work in continuing to attract and develop industry. Bryant said he could remember walking the land on which SDI sits about 12 years ago as state auditor.
At the time, Bryant said, he was told the site would be a “mini” steel mill. But as he flew into the Golden Triangle on Wednesday, he looked out the airplane window and saw how much the plant has grown.
“A dozen years ago we looked with a vision of what this could be — what could happen if we continued to grow this plant and expand,” Bryant said. “How we could provide coil steel to customers around the world and across the United States — how people would be amazed that Mississippi, here in the Golden Triangle, had steel plants.
“We always thought those were somewhere else — in other states, somewhere up north,” Bryant continued. “We found out that we were very good at making steel, and I believe that we could do not only better, but best.”
Mark Millet, President and CEO of Steel Dynamics, Inc., said Columbus’ facility is one of the best the company has. It’s one of three SDI paint lines, with the other two located in Indiana. SDI has 85 total facilities in the United States.
Millet said the $100 million investment for the paint line should pay back in about two years. The continued growth at the Golden Triangle location, he said, is affirmation of the $1.4 billion SDI spent to acquire the plant in 2014.
“We’re dedicated to Columbus,” Millet said. “We’re dedicated to our employees. We’re dedicated to the community and we’re dedicated to our customers. So we’re going to continue to grow and we’re going to grow in the Golden Triangle.”
Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said SDI’s growth will continue to be a boon for the county.
“SDI is a great company and we’re very fortunate to have them here as part of our community,” Sanders said. “Their continued investment in Lowndes County is a testament to the staff and administration here who work hard daily to make this community successful.
“This new building and the jobs it will house are a great example of what comes when everybody strives to the best of our communities,” he added.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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