Steel Products

Coronavirus Forces JSW USA to Idle Some Operations

Written by Tim Triplett

JSW Steel USA will idle facilities and lay off workers at its plants in Mingo Junction, Ohio, and Baytown, Texas, in an effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and chaos in the oil and gas market on steel demand.

The company said it will temporarily idle the hot rolling mill and EAF at Mingo Junction in mid-April for approximately four weeks. Planned CAPEX projects related to EAF modernization and general maintenance will be completed.

The company will continue the hot rolling of plate at its Baytown Plate mill as it completes the cold commissioning of Phase-1 of the $260 million plate mill modernization project. Plate processing and shipping also will continue to assure that all customer deliveries are met on time.

The Baytown pipe mill will be put in “care and maintenance” mode from mid-May onwards to complete several maintenance projects so the mill can be restarted on short notice when the market improves, the company said.

Because of these temporary changes to operations at Mingo Junction and Baytown, JSW will temporarily lay off certain employees in April and May. The company has issued WARN Act notices to state and local officials. It expects to call back many of the laid off employees when operations are restarted in May and June.

“We remain committed to supporting all our employees and their families in this challenging environment, and we will continue to provide medical benefits until the end of the month to employees who are laid off during the month,” said JSW USA President and CEO John Hritz. “We believe that with the combination of the medical benefits that we will be providing and the additional unemployment benefits announced under the CARES Act of 2020, the employees who are laid off for a short time will be able to cushion the impact and support their families during this period.”

Added Hritz: “As we continue with our new Mingo Junction Electric Arc Furnace and new Baytown Plate Mill installations, we stand ready to ramp up our capacity utilization at each facility, based on customer demand.”

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