ArcelorMittal USA will idle the #6 blast furnace at Cleveland Works due to reduced demand resulting from coronavirus closures in the automotive sector.
ArcelorMittal USA President and CEO John Brett said in an April 3 letter to employees that extended closures in the automotive sector and reduced demand in other segments require the company to adjust production.
“Consequently, we need to take another step to align our steelmaking production with our customers’ needs. Very soon, we will blow down our Cleveland #6 Blast Furnace.”
A blow down is a method of shutting down a blast furnace by running the furnace without charging until most of the coke is consumed and the ferrous burden level is reduced to approximately the tuyere level (nozzle through which air is blown into the furnace).
Last week, high water on the Cuyahoga River prevented iron ore boats from reaching Cleveland Works resulting in a very low supply of iron ore. The company announced to union members on March 29 a four-day idling of C6 along with a downturn for the C5 furnace.
In a letter to union members on March 30, USW Local 979 President Dan Boone said, “This new supply development, the slowing of orders, the cancellation of others, and the undeniable impact of COVID-19, has created an unprecedented impact on our plant.”
The C-6 furnace has a daily capacity of 4,150 net tons and C-5 4,350 net tons.
ArcelorMittal did not respond to a request for comment.
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