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Texas port to serve voestalpine's planned iron-ore 'direct reduction' plant

The voestalpine Group recently chose a site in the La Quinta Trade Gateway in San Patricio County, Texas, near the Port of Corpus Christi for a new $700 million iron-ore processing facility that will use natural gas from the Eagle Ford Shale to produce iron.

The Austrian steelmaker considered a total of 17 sites in eight countries for the "direct reduction" plant, voestalpine Group officials said in a press release.

"Texas was the most convincing in terms of all the key criteria, including logistics, energy supply, a well-educated workforce and the political environment," said Wolfgang Eder, chairman of voestalpine AG and head of the company's steel division. "The site is strategically located on Corpus Christi Bay, covers an area of almost 500 acres and has direct access to the sea."

The project is contingent on federal and state regulatory approval, and the securement of a long-term lease agreement with the port. The plant might be operational by 2016, voestalpine Group officials said.

The plant is projected to produce 2 million metric tons of iron per year from Canadian or Brazilian ore. Bricks and pellets produced by the facility will be used as intermediate materials in steel manufactured for rail, oil and gas pipelines, cars and planes.

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