TXI Chapparal Steel (Midlothian)

In 2007, TXI Chaparral merged with Gerdau Ameristeel. TXI Chaparral had two steel mills, one in Dinwiddie, Virginia, and one in Midlothian, Texas. These two mills employ over 1,000 workers and their maximum capacity is 2.8 million tons.  After the two companies merged, Gerdau Ameristeel became the second largest producer of steel in North America. Gerdau Ameristeel owns nineteen steel mills and nineteen scrap metal recycling facilities. Gerdau Ameristeel’s mills operate throughout North America’s eastern half. Their steel mills are located in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Oklahoma.  The company even owns two mills in Canada, one in Manitoba and the other in Ontario. Despite the economic crisis, Gerdau Ameristeel still plans to be the steel industry’s leader. They have increased their safety practices and are seeking ways to improve technology and machinery to lower pollution and reduce harmful waste. In 1937, Florida Steel products opened in Tampa, Florida. Florida Steel produced steel supplies for use in the construction industry. Florida Steel expanded production by 1960 to include other products, such as wire mess, nails, and railroad products.  Florida Steel acquired Knoxville Iron and Steel Service, Stafford Rail Products, and Atlas Steel in the 1980s. They flourished for nine years before they changed their name to Ameristeel. In 2002, Ameristeel merged with Gerdau Courtice Steel, doubling the size of the company. Again, they changed their name, becoming Gerdau Ameristeel. Gerdau Ameristeel grew again as they bought Chaparral Steel Company. They acquired more steel mills, and their product output increased. Due to the reduction in steel product orders, in 2009, one of Gerdau Ameristeel’s New Jersey plants closed temporarily. Once the industry improves, the plant plans to reopen, though the company is considering closing the steel mill in Oklahoma. The TXI Chaparral plants improved their system of lime delivery in the early 1990s. They found a way to decrease lime dust contamination to four percent, which was a 30 percent decrease and dramatically lowered the amount of baghouse dust released into the atmosphere.  Despite this later commitment to environmental health, in earlier years, these plants may have posed a danger to their workers.  Due to its flame, heat, and electrical current resistance, the fibrous, naturally occurring mineral called asbestos was often used in many mills, factories, worksites, and power plants all across the United States, including in TXI Chaparral.