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AL: Steel Mill Expansion

SSAB’s steel mill in Axis has beaten out the company’s mill in Iowa for a $460 million expansion that will create 180 new jobs, the company said Tuesday.

The Swedish company’s investment is the second largest announced in Mobile County in recent years, behind the $4.5 billion ThyssenKrupp AG steel plant in Calvert. Together, the plants could make Mobile a steel-industry center.

SSAB said it would begin construction in 2009 at the northern Mobile County mill and complete work in 2011. The company projected that new employees will make an average of $65,000 a year.

The profit outlook for steelmakers has darkened with the economy, but Britten said the spending shows SSAB’s confidence. “A company that commits this amount of money in this economic environment speaks a lot,” he said.

IPSCO spent $425 million to build the Axis mill, which opened in 2001, and added a $45 million heat-treatment unit in 2004. Adjusted for inflation, that total would be worth $525 million today.

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