Essar Steel Algoma #7 Blast Furnace Still Not Producing Iron
Our sources advised Steel Market Update late last week the #7 blast furnace (and only furnace currently available to steel mill Essar Steel Algoma) which has been down since January 21st, was schedule to be restarted on Friday, February 4th. The start process has been taking longer than expected when the mill informed the media (including SMU) that the furnace was expected to return to full capacity “in approximately 10 days. (by February 3rd).”
The Sault Star newspaper has published an article on Saturday morning which quotes the United Steelworkers union as saying the furnace had yet to be restarted as of Friday morning. Without liquid steel the mill is beginning to trim its workforce.
Local 2724 president, Mike Da Prat, which represents 2,500 hourly workers to The Sault Star, “the majority of people not directly involved in blast furnace repairs could be temporarily off the job…no steel means no work.” He told the newspaper workers are being taken off their regular jobs and assigned elsewhere.
Steel Market Update has requested information from Brenda Stenta, the Essar Steel Algoma spokesperson but has not received any further update during this past week.
Ian Kelsey, president of Local 2724 which represents the 600 salaried supervisory and technical personnel at the mill to The Sault Star the plate and strip mill (hot mill) were shut down late this week having “exhausted its slab inventory.”
Outside mill sources have advised SMU the mill has had approximately 3 month backlog of plate orders when the furnace went down.
Both Mr. Kersley at the mill and our technical expert, John Eckstein, have advised it could take a number of days once the restart begins to bring the furnace back online and producing “usable metal.”
The #7 furnace is rated by AIST as being able to produce 8,400 tons of pig iron per day. Since the 21st of January SMU projects the company has lost approximately 134,400 tons of melt through Saturday, February 5th.
Cold weather, with temperatures dropping to as low as -35.2 degrees Celsius (coldest night in 14 years) have been hampering efforts to get the furnace restarted.
The company has a second blast furnace #6 which is capable of producing 3,000 tons of melt per day. The #6 furnace has been idled for an extended period of time.
If you would like to learn more about the impact this shutdown, as well as the issues affecting U.S. Steel Great Lakes and Severstal Dearborn who also lost furnaces this past week due to industrial gases supplier problems, you are welcome to register for a free trial to the Steel Market Update newsletter which is published three times per week. You can register online by CLICKING HERE.
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