Volta Redonda (vôl´tä rĕdôN´dä), city (1996 pop. 228,939), Rio de Janeiro state, E Brazil, on the Paraíba River. Its proximity to sources of hydroelectricity and basic raw materials and to the industrial centers of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo favored its selection as the site of a huge government-run steel mill. The city was founded in 1941, and construction of the steel mill began the following year, with production starting in 1946. Within a decade Volta Redonda, one of the most ambitious industrial projects in South America, was producing more than half of Brazil's ingots and rolled steel. Privatization (1993) of the mill has led to reduced employment in the industry locally, but it still dominates the city's economy.