Georgetown steel mill could open again under new ownership

VIDEO: steel mill in Georgetown may reopen
Published: Apr. 21, 2017 at 12:14 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2017 at 5:45 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - The ArcelorMittal steel mill in Georgetown may have a new chance at life.

The old steel mill opened in 1969, running 47 years before closing its doors in the summer of 2015.

"July 24 the news broke that our plant was going to shut down and it was shattering news," James Sanderson said. Sanderson is the president of the local chapter's United Steelworkers union.

The old mill was a staple in the Georgetown community.

"Through the years, I've known a lot of people that have worked at the mill. With us being here for so long, we've always had family members that have worked at the mill," Georgetown resident Kevin Jayroe said.

Liberty House, a Global industrial and metals group, says it has reached an agreement to purchase Georgetown Steelworks, a 600,000-ton a year electric arc furnace and 750,000-ton a year rod mill.

"This is very exciting for the citizens of Georgetown," Sanderson said. "It's a great day in Georgetown today."

It would add an estimated 350 jobs back into the Georgetown community.

"We hope the community will welcome this opportunity that will preserve the facility and equipment and create good jobs with good wages,"  John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said.

"If it's offered, it'd be a great thing. We live in a beautiful area and we love to share it with people. We love to have new people come in," Jayroe said. "We live in a community here where they honestly need the jobs."

"It's going to be a big shot into the economy," Sanderson added. "You have high-wage jobs now that are going to be coming in here. People are going to be making between $60-70,000 a year and that's with no overtime and counting no benefits."

The metals group hopes to finalize the deal in the coming weeks. United Steelworkers said if all runs smoothly closing the deal, workers will get back to their job as early as this summer.

"If completed as planned, the acquisition will give Liberty the opportunity to reopen and revitalize this pivotal business, which was an important part of the state's industrial infrastructure for 47 years before its closure in August 2015," Liberty House says in a news release.

"Within a month and a half, the first wave of employees should be going into the mill," Sanderson said.

Sanderson, speaking on behalf of the United Steelworkers union, thanks one person in particular for the opportunity.

"I think because of Donald Trump's strong position on trade, you're going to see a lot more jobs come back to the United States."

The union has invited President Trump to the reopening of the plant.

Liberty House says it is confident the United Steelworkers union will support and assist in the process of recruiting a workforce to re-open the plant and rebuild the business.

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