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New Steel looking for investors

PORTSMOUTH — Developers of a proposed electric arc steel mill are still looking for investors and needing for the results of a feasibility study, the same spot they were in this spring.

At a Tuesday meeting with economic development leaders from Lawrence and Scioto counties, representatives from New Steel International said they still had $380,000 in shares in the mill they were trying to sell.

“They have 38 shares available at $10,000 a share,” Lawrence County Commissioner Bill Pratt said.

Those shares are available to what New Steel officials are describing as certified investors.

“They have some stipulations on who can invest,” Pratt said.

When officials get the additional $380,000, it will be added to $120,000 already acquired to cover administrative costs, legal fees, land options and the feasibility study.

According to Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., the study should be ready in a few weeks.

“They are in the process of updating the engineering feasibility study,” Dingus said. “To get Wall Street funding it is needed to have an updated study to make sure (the project) was very profitable. In a few weeks when it is completed, it will give something investors can hang their hats on.”

About four years ago a Russian steelmaker had plans to build a mill on acreage in Haverhill, near the Lawrence County line. The next year that company pulled out.

Then developers at New Steel stepped forward saying they wanted to bring another mill to that site.

As enthusiastic as some local economic leaders are about the project, it has yet to get support from Gov. John Kasich, who has said New Steel must raise its own private capital before it could expect state assistance.

“The state of Ohio has refused to put money into it,” Dingus said. “I still feel it has great merit. And as such we are doing everything we can in Lawrence County to be supportive. It would help to nurture other kinds of manufacturing. The construction jobs would be great and the number of permanent employees and spin off businesses wanting to locate within a reasonable proximity.”