Advocate photo Aerial of Nucor plant

A three-week outage at Nucor Corp.’s St. James Parish plant lowered the Charlotte, North Carolina, company’s second-quarter results, but Nucor still saw second-quarter earnings jump to $147 million, or 46 cents per share.

A year earlier, Nucor reported earnings of $85.1 million, or 27 cents per share.

The St. James direct reduced iron plant was undergoing adjustments expected to improve yield and conversion costs, according to Nucor. The plant uses natural gas to make high-purity pellets from iron ore. Nucor mixes the pellets with scrap metal to make steel.

The plant is already producing a greater volume of reduced iron than the company expected.

Nucor expects the facility’s performance to improve in the third quarter and to turn a profit by the end of the year.