Potential development could have broad impact on area

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

If plans are finalized for a new steel mill near SunCoke Energy in Scioto County, the economic impact would likely go well beyond the job creation.

The Ironton Tribune recently learned that a Russian company, Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, is negotiating with the state to make about a $2 billion investment at the Haverhill location.

If it comes to the area, the mill would produce automobile body sheets and employ up to 1,400 workers.

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Although he said he could not comment on whether the steel mill may come to the area or not, Bill Dingus, executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the multiplier effects would offer long-term benefits to both Scioto and Lawrence counties if such an event occurred.

“The impact is always 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 times the number of jobs normally available,” Dingus said. “The retail businesses, the entertainment industries would all benefit from it. How many other businesses are benefiting from the business? How many employees eat at restaurants?”

The multiplier effect arises because of the increases in consumer spending, which occurs because of the increased incomes. Not only would the economy be better with more people having jobs and spending more money in the area, the effect would trickle down to numerous businesses.

For instance, to build the mill of this size, it would provide jobs for several years to the building and construction trades. After the building is completed, the company would have to purchase office and cleaning supplies, and many other supplies needed to maintain the building and service the employees.

All this combined with the more than 1,000 employees would add up to many more jobs in the area.

A spokesman for SunCoke Energy would not comment on the economic impact to the area.

“In view of the confidentiality agreement that exists among the parties engaged in discussion, it would be premature for SunCoke Energy to comment on the project at this time,” said Gerald T. Davis, manager of media and public relations for SunCoke.