Steel Mills

ArcelorMittal to Idle Indiana Harbor Long Carbon

Written by Sandy Williams

ArcelorMittal intends to idle its Indiana Harbor Long Carbon facility and shut down the rolling mill, resulting in the potential layoff of 304 employees.

The facility will be idled beginning with the electric arc furnace on March 1, 2015, followed by the rolling mill operation in second quarter, pending customer requirements. The mill was previously idled in 2009 and brought back online in 2010. An ArcelorMittal spokesperson said the company has suffered losses at the Indiana Harbor facility since 2011 due to low utilization, scheduling inefficiencies and high costs.

“We have been negotiating with the United Steelworkers (USW) since mid-November to maintain the rolling mill as an economically viable operation using outsourced billets,” said the company spokesperson. “We no longer view this option as feasible given the union’s requirement that this change be linked to increased production bonuses at the rolling mill, equivalent to an increase of approximately $4,000 annually per hourly employee at current production levels.”

The plant closure will affect approximately 246 USW union members and 58 salaried employees, most of whom are expected to be relocated into other ArcelorMittal facilities in Northwest Indiana. The decision entails the potentially permanent loss of more than 300 direct and indirect jobs associated with the facility, said the spokesperson.

The closure affects only the long carbon plant in Indiana. The shutdown of the facility’s electric arc furnace will remove 340,000 tons of annual steel capacity from the market.

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