AUBURN — Nucor has made a multi-million-dollar investment to increase production and safety at its Cayuga County steel mill. 

Federal, state and local elected officials joined Nucor executives and employees at a ceremony Friday to celebrate the opening of a new $30 million rolling mill. 

Nucor touted the rolling mill as smarter technology that will help make the production process safer. They also view the addition as a way to increase efficiency. 

"Investing in this new rolling mill demonstrates Nucor's ongoing and long-term commitment to central New York and our teammates," said Drew Wilcox, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Auburn. 

The installation of the mill marks another milestone in the history of the Auburn steel plant. The plant has been manufacturing steel for more than 40 years. Nucor has owned the facility since 2001. 

Steel made by Nucor has been used in the construction of several notable buildings, including One World Trade Center, Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium in New York City and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. 

Nucor has more than 580 employees in New York, nearly 300 of whom work at the Auburn mill. 

U.S. Rep. John Katko said the proudest moment he's had as a congressman is when he testified before the International Trade Commission on behalf of Nucor. In his testimony, he railed against rebar imports that have hurt Nucor's business. 

"They don't want an unfair advantage," Katko, R-Camillus, said. "They just want a level playing field." 

Nucor officials also lauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state officials for a "Buy American" provision that will apply to state bridge and road projects. Under the Buy American policy, the contracts will mandate the use of American-made iron and steel. 

State Sen. John DeFrancisco, one of the supporters of the Buy American legislation, said Nucor played a major role in lobbying for the bill. 

"It kind of sets the stage for the same thing that people are now talking about at the federal level," he said. 

DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, was impressed by Nucor's commitment to its Auburn plant and the new rolling mill. The company received no outside funding for the project. 

A state senator since 1993, DeFrancisco said Nucor's announcement was one of the few he could remember that involved a large investment made by the company and didn't include other funding sources, such as government grants or tax credits. 

"That is not only a tribute to the executives who operate the place but all the employees who make this a successful operation," he said. "The company is able to do it on their own." 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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