MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp is expected to create several thousand more construction jobs this year as its $4 billion steel mill in north Mobile County remains on schedule for completion, Gov. Bob Riley said Thursday.
Riley, joined by ThyssenKrupp officials as he toured a loading dock being built in Mobile's harbor, said about 2,000 workers are currently erecting the mill at Calvert. He said that number could swell to 10,000 later this year as the project increasingly becomes an anchor for state employment.
The plant, about 30 miles north of Mobile, is to employ about 2,700 steel workers when it is fully operational next year.
ThyssenKrupp, based in Duesseldorf, earlier announced plans to delay the start of stainless steel production at the Calvert mill because of a steep drop in demand amid the global recession. But it plans no delay in construction of the mill or in a separate carbon steel operation, which will produce more than the stainless steel side.
Port officials said the Mobile harbor's new $100 million loading dock, which will handle steel slabs from the plant, could be completed by December and is designed to survive hurricane floodwaters.
"We are absolutely going to be able to meet all our obligations for this project," said Alabama State Port Authority CEO James Lyons. He said giant loading cranes are expected to arrive in October.
ThyssenKrupp officials said the first slabs could reach the dock in the first quarter of 2010. The Alabama plant will process steel produced in Brazil and will have a capacity of 5 million tons per year.
While the Alabama project remains mostly on schedule, ThyssenKrupp announced last week its profits dropped sharply in the fiscal first quarter and that it would cut jobs due to the world economic crisis. No specific number of job cuts was announced.