United States Steel Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd. reached an agreement for their joint venture, PRO-TEC Coating Company, to begin construction on a continuous annealing line at its facility in Leipsic, Ohio. The capital investment for this project is approximately $400 million and is expected to create 500 temporary construction jobs as well as 80 full-time jobs once the facility is operational. The new line, which will heat treat cold-rolled coils to produce advanced high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels for automotive structural parts, will have an annual production capacity of 500,000 tons.

The new continuous annealing line will process steel purchased from U.S. Steel and will be equipped to utilize both advanced water-quench technology and a rapid gas-jet cooling system to meet customer requirements. The project, which will take an estimated 24 months to complete, is expected to increase the joint venture's ability to serve its automotive customers.