Steel Mills

USS's Mon Valley No. 3 BF Could Stay Idled Through November

Written by David Schollaert

US Steel Corp.’s month-long maintenance outage on the No. 3 blast furnace at Mon Valley Works near Pittsburgh is expected to be completed on Saturday, Sept. 24, a company spokeswoman confirmed to SMU.

US SteelOnce complete, the blast furnace is expected to remain idle for the next month or so in response to declining demand and market conditions, sources familiar with the matter told SMU.

When asked for comment on the potential idling, US Steel said that “market conditions will dictate if it is restarted.”

The blast furnace was taken offline on Aug. 30—pulled forward by more than a month—for shotcrete (sprayed concrete) reline and maintenance, a significantly shorter and less expensive process than a full reline.

Mon Valley Works has two blast furnaces: No. 1 and No. 3. The No. 1 furnace has a daily ironmaking capacity of approximately 3,200 tons. The No. 3 furnace has a daily capacity of approximately 2,900 tons.

The furnaces are located at US Steel’s Edgar Thomson plant in Braddock, Pa. That facility makes slabs and rails them to the company’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, Pa., where they are rolled into sheet.

If the latest idling stands true, this would be the third in a series of idlings this month, following the temporary idling of the No. 5 tin line and the No. 8 blast furnace at Gary Works in Indiana.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker has said weaker demand and increased imports were to blame for the two temporary idlings.

The potential idling of No. 3 at Mon Valley Works comes on the back of lower third-quarter earnings guidance—down nearly 50% sequentially and 60% year-on-year—while negotiations for a new labor contract between the steelmaker and the United Steelworkers union seem to be at an impasse, according to a Sept. 16 USW bargaining update.

By David Schollaert,


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