U.S. Steel plans to restart the No. 8 blast furnace at Gary Works on Aug. 1 in response to improved demand from automotive and other sectors. The 1.2-million-ton furnace was idled in April.
“Gary Works is restoring this capacity to satisfy the very strong demand we are seeing from key contract customers with the reemergence of the auto industry. This action also supports the continued demand we are experiencing from appliances, packaging and construction,” said a company spokesperson. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have utilized the flexibility afforded by our banked blast furnaces to accommodate changes in our order book as needed. This restart is allowing us to effectively respond and meet the growing needs of our customers.”
This is the third blast furnace restart for U.S. Steel, which brought its 1.5-million-ton No. 1 furnace at Mon Valley back online in early June and its 1.36-million-ton No. 6 furnace at Gary Works back in early July.
U.S. Steel took dramatic steps to curtail production back in March when the virus caused the shutdown of auto plants and other nonessential businesses. They also idled the 1.5-million-ton No. 4 furnace at Gary Works and the 1.0-million-ton A furnace at the company’s Granite City Works, along with pipe mills in Lorain, Ohio, and Lone Star, Texas.
Steelmaking capacity in the U.S. has had its ups and downs in recent weeks. Some media reports indicate that AK Steel may have restarted the 2.2-million-ton blast furnace at its Dearborn, Mich., mill earlier this month to produce slabs that will be sent to its Middletown Works for rolling (although the company did not respond to SMU’s request for confirmation.) ArcelorMittal was forced to take down its 2.73-million-ton D furnace at Burns Harbor following an explosion and fire last week. JSW USA also announced the idling of its Mingo Junction mill in response to the weak market conditions.
U.S. Steel and AK Steel announced a $40 increase in flat rolled steel prices this week. Most sources commenting to Steel Market Update today expressed skepticism that the mills will be able to collect the increase.
Tim TriplettRead more from Tim Triplett
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