Steel Mills

Cliffs Files for Air Permit for EAF at Middletown Works

Written by Michael Cowden

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has applied for an air permit for an electric-arc furnace at its Middletown Works in southwest Ohio.

The Cleveland-based steelmaker currently operates an integrated steel mill in Middletown.

cliffs natural resources

The air permit is for the “proposed installation of an EAF melt shop and associated operations to produce steel slab,” the company said in filings with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“As far as permits, we at Cliffs always tend to plan ahead and keep options available for the future,” a Cliffs spokeswoman said.

Cliffs has “no plans” to replace its Middletown blast furnace with an EAF, she said, noting that the Middletown furnace was relined a year ago and so has “at least 15 years of life left.”

The Middletown furnace was also revamped to allow it to charge more hot-briquetted iron (HBI) – which Cliffs produced in Toledo, Ohio – something that has allowed it to reduce its coke rate and lower its carbon emissions.

One result of that effort: Cliffs has idled the coke battery at Middletown because increased use of HBI means “that coke is not needed at this time,” Cliffs chairman, president and CEO Lourenco Goncalves said on an earnings call last year.

Cliffs has also applied for air permits in Minnesota, where it operates iron ore mines and pellet plants, the spokeswoman noted.

“Not all permits are acted upon, and certainly not all approved permits will result in capex deployment. The requested air permit you have seen is just that: a possibility for a distant future,” she said.

Middletown has one blast furnace, the No. 3, which as daily capacity of 6,500 tons of iron, according to SMU’s blast furnace status table.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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