Zekelman Industries of Chicago announced that it's planning a new steel tube galvanizing factory in Blytheville to meet demand for torque tubes used in solar array panels.
When completed, the production lines will have an annual operating capacity exceeding 200,000 tons, the company said in a news release. About 80 jobs will be created.
Construction is set to begin in December. The company expects the new facility, which will operate under its Wheatland Tube brand, to be commissioned in late 2023.
It will share a campus with Zekelman's Atlas Tube operations in Blytheville. The $150 million Atlas Tube electric resistance welding steel mill opened in May.
Zekelman described Blytheville as a "growing industrial sector in northeast Arkansas that also offers excellent access to domestic steel production and multiple transportation options."
"We've been working with the state of Arkansas and Mississippi County since 2007. Our collective vision is delivering real economic opportunity in Arkansas," Tom Muth, executive vice president and chief operations officer, said in the release. "We are excited to see the local community grow and look forward to our continued partnership."
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Zekelman's decision to expand is a "testament to our workforce."
"We are pleased that Zekelman Industries, a legacy within the steel industry, plans to expand in Mississippi County for the third time," he said. "As the steel industry grows in Northeast Arkansas, so does the wealth of opportunity for our communities and our future generations."
In addition to solar, the factory will support the fence and mechanical markets.