Financing has been approved for the construction of a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County, officials said Tuesday.
In a statement from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Big River Steel said the financing necessary for the project has been "officially closed" and a formal groundbreaking will be set later this summer.
The plant, which is said to be the largest investment in the state's history, will take two years to complete.
“It’s truly been a team effort between our investors, local and state leadership, our management team, and many others to get to this point,” Big River Steel CEO John Correnti said in the statement. “I know firsthand Northeast Arkansas has everything we need to operate a world-class mill. Now it’s time to get to work.”
The mill was announced in early 2013 as a potential "superproject" that would employ more than 500 people with annual wages of about $75,000 each. Legislators approved a bill that was later signed by Gov. Mike Beebe offering a set of incentives, including allowing the state to issue $125 million in bonds for the mill.
Grant Tennille, the executive director of the state Economic Development Commission, said the economic impact on the state will be "tremendous."
“In addition to the benefits of Big River alone, we fully expect a significant number of suppliers to locate operations in the region," he said in the statement.