A local delegation of civic leaders and elected officials have begun a six-day journey to Austria aimed at generating additional business opportunities involving that country and solidifying relationships already in place.

Kiii News Anchor Joe Gazin will be traveling with the group and sending back Live reports over the next few days.

As he tells 3News, it all started with a decision by Austria's biggest steel manufacturer to build a $700 million iron ore processing plant here in the Coastal Bend.

When Voestalpine broke ground last month, it not only marked the start of another big industrial plant for South Texas, bu it butso opened the door to a whole new industry here -- a plant that, when complete in the early part of 2016, will take iron pellets and turn them into iron bricketts.

It may not sound like a huge deal, but it is vital for the production of high quality steel -- primarily steel for the auto industry and for oil and gas production; and this will likely be just the beginning.

The construction phase is expected to generate at least 1,000 jobs, and the 150 permanent high-paying jobs can be multiplied by a factor of four because of all the support businesses this plant will create.

For the next few days, the local delegation will get an up close and personal look at what Voestalpine has done at its home base of Linz, Austria, emphasizing how the company works to protect the environment.