Austrian Steelmaker to Join La Quinta Industrial Community

June 10, 2013

Initial work on pipeline relocations and access roads is moving forward on the newest addition to the La Quinta Ship Channel industrial community served by the San Patricio Municipal Water District.

Voestalpine Texas Holdings, part of the Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine Group, signed a 50-year lease in April on 486 acres of the Port of Corpus Christi's La Quinta Terminal property located on the newly extended La Quinta Ship Channel and the new San Patricio Turning Basin.

The plant will produce iron briquettes that will be used to make high-grade steel. About half of the plant's production of 2 million tons per year is expected to go to the company's foundries in Europe. The other half will go into international markets. A preliminary agreement is in place to sell several hundred thousand tons per year to a steel mill in Monclova, Mexico.

Energy is a key part of turning iron ore into what is called hot briquetted iron (HBI). Expected low natural gas prices for the foreseeable future in the U.S. were a key reason for the company's decision to locate in South Texas. Almost as important was direct access to a dock site on a 45-foot-deep ship channel.

Voestalpine will be a customer of the San Patricio Municipal Water District with an initial demand of about 400,000 gallons per day. The company hopes to use saltwater taken from Corpus Christi Bay for cooling purposes.

The company is seeking necessary environmental permits for the project. It hosted a town hall meeting in Portland in May. The plant could be in production as early as 2016.

The company has announced it has contracted with Siemans Industry and its partner Midrex Technologies to build the production facility at a cost of more than $700 million.