500 high-paying jobs coming to Mississippi County

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - More than 500 jobs paying an average $75,000 a year are coming to Mississippi County.

Big River Steel, LLC Tuesday announcedplans to build a more than $1 billion steel mill. Before any ground is broken, though, Big River Steel is waiting for state lawmakers to authorize $125 million in general obligation bonds.

The bonds would be issued under Amendment 82. Passed in the November 2004 general election, it allows thestate legislature to approve up to 5 percent of the state's general revenuebudget to be used for bonding of super economic development projects. If approved, this would be the first time Amendment 82 has been triggered.

John Correnti is Big River Steel's chief executive officerand heads a group of investors backing the project.

"Having lived in Arkansas for over 20 years and having beeninvolved in building and operating two other world class steel mills in thestate, I know first-hand that the quality of the work force in Arkansas isoutstanding and well suited for the high-paying jobs we intend to create," saidCorrenti.{}{} "Arkansas's geographic location in the heart of themarkets we intend to serve, the state's well-developed transportationinfrastructure as well as the availability of reliable electrical power and the'can do attitude' of the government officials in Little Rock, MississippiCounty and Osceola make Arkansas a great place for Big River Steel to make itsinvestment."

Big River will produce steel for the automotive, oil and gasand electrical energy industries.{} Construction of the mill will takeapproximately 20 months from ground breaking which is expected later this year.

The $125 million generated by the sale of the bonds will beused as follows:

  • $50million loan to Big River Steel
  • $50million for site preparation
  • $20million for costs associated with piling - subsurface stabilization
  • $5million bond issuance cost

Once Beebe refers the project to the Speaker of the House andPresident Pro Tempore of the Senate, the legislature will have 20 working daysto conduct its own independent economic impact study.{} The legislationwill then work its way through the committee process after which a vote of bothhouses of the legislature will be taken.{}

All employment inquiries should be made to the BlythevilleOffice of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, P.O. Box 1409,Blytheville, Arkansas{} 72316.{} Phone 870-762-2035.