Voestalpine is to replace its existing steel plant in Kapfenberg, Austria, with a new site, investing between EUR330m (US$387m) and EUR350m.

The move by the High Performance Metals Division of Voestalpine, will secure around 3,000 jobs in the Styria region.

Work will begin on structural preparations next to the current works premises for the investment before the end of this year. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in 2018 and after three years of construction the high-tech plant is slated to start operations in 2021, replacing the current Böhler special steel factory in Kapfenberg.

“In times of global over-capacity, even in the special steel sector, we are driving technology and quality standards in high-performance steels with the construction of this plant,” said Voestalpine chairman, Wolfgang Eder.

“The decision to invest a total of EUR330m to EUR350m to construct the plant in a high-cost country such as Austria was anything but simple. However, after having intensively weighed all the relevant location factors, we were finally convinced this investment project which is exceptional not only for Austria but also for Europe will pay off over the long term.

“The decisive factor was the people: in the end our employees, with their extensive expertise and their commitment, were a stronger argument than all the critical aspects. However, we are assuming that the clear political signals indicating reliable and predictable Austrian, as well as European, framework conditions for climate and energy policy which have recently been issued will remain unchanged, even after this decision.

“Only with a sustained and predictable industrial policy which is more than just an electoral promise will we, as a company, be able to create and preserve safe and attractive jobs over the long term.”

Other factors influential in Voestalpine’s decision to locate in Kapfenberg was the metallurgical research environment, as well as the available infrastructure and proximity to important customers.