Bradford, a steel industry analyst with New York-based Bradford
Research Inc., said the $7 billion price tag attached to New
Steel International's purported Durand loan application is more
than five times the $1.3 billion cost of the recently built Big
River steel mill in Arkansas on the Mississippi River.
have come up with these kind of programs many, many times
before," Bradford said. "If you look a little further, you
typically find a Nigerian scammer in there somewhere."
a brief phone interview last week, New Steel International CEO
John Schultes confirmed his company is pursuing a
multibillion-dollar steel mill in Durand with the help of
unnamed business partners.
a little too early to really go public with things," Schultes
"There are a lot of companies trying to make this happen. I
think it certainly will change a lot of things here."
Durand project's consultants include representatives from the
financial advising giant Plante Moran, Tim Nichols of
Labor-Management Fund Advisors LLC in Novi and the global
engineering firm Black & Veatch Corp.
who has been working with Schultes for a decade on the Ohio
project, said Black & Veatch is involved in the engineering
design of both the Haverhill, Ohio and Durand projects.
Sellenraad, associate vice president and global project director
for Black & Veatch, declined to comment, citing a
non-disclosure agreement. Nichols, who previously confirmed
his involvement in the project, did not
return a message seeking comment.
confirmed New Steel International has applied for a loan through
the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles
Manufacturing Loan Program, but declined to divulge the amount
or details of the application.
Department of Energy spokesperson declined to comment on the
a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., Schultes and other company
representatives portrayed the Durand project as a
state-of-the-art steel plant that would use clean coal-burning
technology to melt iron pellets and capture a portion of the
energy emitted in the steel-making process for a renewable
energy source, according to a source.
documents the city of Durand distributed to residents concealing
the identity of New Steel International, the company has
portrayed the project as having a renewable energy component,
claiming it will be "the greenest facility of its kind anywhere
in the world."
Foster, a Durand veterinarian who lives a half-mile from the
proposed "Project Tim" footprint, said the developers' use of
Power Point-like presentations with vague claims of
technological superiority and job-promising catch phrases
suggests "they sketched this out on the back of a napkin at the
bar and threw it at us."
think we're rubes who live out in the country," Foster said.
"They think if we put, 'Make America Great Again' on it that
we're all going to fall for it. We're not stupid."
source briefed on the company's plans said Schultes has told
members of Michigan and Ohio's congressional delegations that
the project has "investor interest" from General Motors Co.,
Tesla Inc. and DTE Energy Co.
GM spokesman declined to comment. Representatives from Tesla and
DTE did not return messages seeking comment.
the southern Ohio economic development planner, said the
linchpin to building the two steel mills on the Ohio River and
in Durand is to get GM and other automakers on board for future
got to have redundant suppliers or they're not going to buy it,"
Dingus said. "I think these two plants are joined at the hip.
... We're major cheerleaders for the Durand plant."
the auto industry's march toward self-driving vehicles and a
shared-user ownership model, Bradford said, there's likely to be
fewer cars and trucks produced, reducing the need for more
automobile is a declining market, either way you look at it,"
Bradford said. "That's not going to help steel."
declined to discuss investors and potential customers of the
plant's steel or the renewable energy component when asked
specifically whether GM, Tesla Inc. and DTE Energy Co. were
involved in the project.
is telling you all of this is certainly well informed, but I'm
not going to confirm or deny it," Schultes told a Crain's reporter.