Thu, Nov. 14

1959: CLARKDALE; $15 Million Steel Mill Planned, September.

"'An integrated steel plant costing in excess of $15 million will be built in Clarkdale,' William Zeckendorf, president of Webb and Knapp announced at a New York City press conference this morning. The plant is to be in operation within two years and will employ between 200 and 300 people."

"'A similar plant is planned at Anaconda, Mont. The Clarkdale operation will get under way very soon if a satisfactory power rate can be arranged with Arizona Public Service Co., Zeckendorf said. 'Anaconda power is much cheaper,' he continued. 'It is also possible that the plant will manufacture its own power.'"

"Questioned by a reporter from The Verde Independent, Zeckendorf said, 'There is no reason to believe there is anything which may cause plans for the steel plant to fall through.'"

"The mill will recover iron from the waste slag of the abandoned copper smelter at Clarkdale and convert it into steel through a process developed by Strategic Materials Corporation and known as the Strategic-Udy Process. This is the first commercially feasible method developed for using copper slag as a new material in the manufacture of steel. Koppers Company, Inc., is affiliated with Strategic in the development of plants to utilize the process."

"Koppers is conducting the engineering and research which will lead to construction of the Clarkdale mill. The plant will utilize the abandoned copper smelter buildings and facilities which cover an area of approximately 1200 acres."

"Strategic will receive a 15% equity interest in Webb & Knapp Strategic Corporation. In return, it will give the new company the world-wide exclusive rights to the use of the Strategic-Udy Process on copper slags. Webb & Knapp will own 85% of the stock."

"The Clarkdale smelter was acquired by Webb & Knapp for $1,400,000 and the town for $1,150,000. The town was bought in Yavapai County Superior Court by the Westfield Corporation for Webb & Knapp."

"Zeckendorf said Clarkdale homes will go on sale to individuals and other housing developments will get under way very soon."

"Large-scale test runs of the Clarkdale slag were made at the Niagara Falls, Ontario, semi-commercial plant of Strategic-Udy Metallurgical and Chemical Processes Ltd., a Strategic Materials subsidiary. The Clarkdale slag contains about 33% iron, 1/2% copper and 2% zinc. The processing test runs recovered most of the copper and zinc as by-products and produced, through refining, quality steel of controllable grades. The balance, in the form of a controlled slag residue, will be used in the manufacture of insulation and lightweight aggregate for the manufacture of concrete building products."

"The Clarkdale plant will be the first integrated steel mill built in the U. S. since 1952 and will manufacture reinforcing rods and other 'merchant mill' products. It will have an initial capacity of 500 tons of steel a day. This can be 1000 tons or more as the market demand increases. The company will also construct a building materials plant to produce 1000 tons daily."

"Zeckendorf Steel Company, a subsidiary of Webb & Knapp Strategic Corporation, will operate the Clarkdale plants. It is named in honor of the grandfather of William Zeckendorf, president of Webb & Knapp, Inc., who settled in the Southwest territory in 1853 and established a general store in Tucson. The subsidiary will lease the Clarkdale site and buy the slag from Webb & Knapp. The slag pile, which amounts to approximately 30 million tons, will have a life of from 30 to 60 years, depending on the production rate."

"Webb & Knapp Strategic Corporation plans to erect a steel plant at Anaconda in addition to the Clarkdale plant. It was pointed out that the Anaconda plant will be even more efficient than Clarkdale because it will be able to use hot slag as it is received from the smlter, eliminating a step in the recovery process. Completion of the plant is scheduled for 1963."

"Clyde E. Weed, Chairman of the Board of The Anaconda Company, confirmed that Anaconda had entered into a contract to sell its smelter slag at Anaconda, Mont."

"In order to provide suitable accommodations for employees of the Clarkdale plant, Webb & Knapp has purchased virtually the entire town of Clarkdale, Ariz., from the estate of Earl Halliburton. The property consists of approximately 3000 acres of land, 200 houses, the city hall, a water system, a lodge, a restaurant, a post office, an ice plant, a heating plant, various commercial buildings and miscellaneous personal property."

"'At the end of mining and smelting operations,' Mr. Zeckendorf stated, 'Clarkdale became a ghost town. The new mill will turn it into a boom town. In fact, since this will be the first steel plant in Arizona, we expect our operations to rapidly increase the rate of construction throughout the state because it will provide an economical source of building materials. This factor, coupled with the state's excellent climate, will attract business and industry on a large scale.'"

(The Verde Independent; Cottonwood; Monday, September 23, 1959; page 1, columns 4-5.)

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