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New jobs headed to area

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTGOMERY &8212; In a move designed to add 235 new full-time jobs in the Black Belt region, U.S. Steel Corp. and the state of Alabama announced a $450 million expansion at Port Epes at a press conference Friday.

Those jobs would be available at the end of a permit process that could take up to 18 months.

Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s office stated the construction of the facility will in addition create 75 full-time and 250 temporary construction jobs.

Completion would take an estimated 18 months after the permitting process is concluded.

U.S. Steel Chief Operating Officer John Goodish hopes the move improves the cost competitiveness of U. S. Steel&8217;s Fairfield Works near Birmingham.

The announcement took place during a celebration of accomplishments of the Governor&8217;s Black Belt Action Commission.

Governor Riley created the Action Commission to measurably improve the quality of life in Alabama&8217;s Black Belt.

The Action Commission is made up of volunteers who have worked in areas including economic development, health care, education and infrastructure.

U.S. Steel’s plans are seen as a catalyst for more industrial development in the Black Belt, a key target area for state economic developers.

At the same time, the coke alternative product will be used at U.S. Steel’s Fairfield plant, which now gets it coke from overseas markets that have seen rising prices.

“This is really going to help the competitive position Fairfield has in the steel market,” Goodish said.