Bricklaying ceremony held for new coke plant

AK Steel’s chairman, president and CEO James L. Wainscott said that the ceremonial bricklaying event for a new SunCoke Energy Inc. plant in Middletown, Ohio, represented a milestone event for AK Steel and for the Middletown community.

The event marked the initial construction phase of SunCoke’s $360 million plant located adjacent to AK Steel’s Middletown Works. Once completed, the heat-recovery coke battery will be capable of supplying AK Steel with about 550,000 tons of metallurgical coke annually. In addition, the new plant will recover the waste heat from the coking process to generate approximately 50 megawatts of electrical power each year, or about 25 percent of Middletown Works’ electricity requirement.

AK Steel’s board of directors previously approved a 20 year supply contract with SunCoke Energy, Inc. to provide AK Steel with metallurgical-grade coke and electrical power from the new plant. The agreement will help AK Steel achieve its goal of more fully integrating its raw material supply.

AK Steel operates coke batteries in Middletown, Ohio and Ashland, Kentucky, but must purchase about 30 percent of its annual coke requirements on the open market.

The project has created hundreds of temporary construction jobs, and there will be approximately 85 new full-time jobs when the plant is in operation.