PUEBLO, Colo. — Wednesday marked a big moment for EVRAZ Pueblo as mill and government leaders broke ground on a new $500 million facility.
Officials boasted its future impact on the steel industry and on the city of Pueblo.
“Just like the steel forged in the hottest fire, we’re emerging from the flames and challenges of the last couple years,” Gov. Jared Polis said.
The new mill is expected to provide rail for the entire country as well as several Canadian provinces and produce between 500 to 800 jobs.
“It’ll be state of the art, it’ll have the greatest technology, it’ll produce the product the market is demanding,” President and CEO of EVRAZ North America Skip Herald said.
The facility also aims to be a leader in clean energy by powering equipment via solar energy. According to Herald, this will be the greenest steel facility in North America and possibly the world.
“When you think about our industry, historically, it has a connotation of being a dirty industry,” Herald said. “This is going to be a true green facility. We start with over a million tons of recycled metals, or scrap, goes into our furnace, re-melted into new products.”
Construction has already started on the solar aspect of the mill but there’s still a long way to go.
Officials hope all of it will be done in 2023.
It’s one of the first bright spots for the company since that terrible explosion in may that injured several mill workers.
But with the building of a new facility, what is the company doing to prevent another disaster?
“We’ve got our own on-site safety,” Herald told FOX21. “We put very rigorous plans in for the project.”
Herald says those plans will be combined with contractors’ safety ideas.
“We’ve got full-time safety staff ourselves on the project and each of our suppliers or contractors will have their own safety staff that we’ll interact with on a daily basis.”
While addressing the crowd, Herald mentioned the injured workers, saying they’ve kept in contact since the explosion.
“Workers and their union have been shoulder to shoulder with us in this journey.”
Herald went on to describe workers’ impact on the mill, saying they are the most important part of the operation.
“What makes this place special is the people,” Herald said. “The people come here, they work hard everyday, they have pride in this location. We’ll provide the infrastructure, we’ll provide the mill, we’ll provide the funding but, at the end of the day, it’s the teams that come over here and make this work.”
It’s important to note the location of the mill comes after Pueblo representatives worked to sell the city as the perfect location. The Pueblo Urban Renewal also gave $1 million to help fund the project.