- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) - Production is beginning at a new, $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Big River Steel has begun operations in its melt shop and hot mill at the new facility in Mississippi County. The steel mill was the first “superproject” to be approved under a 2004 state constitutional amendment that allows the state to borrow money to help lure major employers.

The company says the first hot rolled coil at Big River was purchased by Zekelman Industries and will be sent to Atlas Tube in Blytheville. Zekelman and Big River Steel say they will donate the $100,000 proceeds from the sale to the Wounded Warrior Project and Arkansas Northeastern College.

Big River Steel is expected to fully operational by next year.

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