Steel Mills

Algoma takes blast furnace offline after unplanned outage at coke plant

Written by Michael Cowden

Canadian flat-rolled steelmaker Algoma Steel said its blast furnace could be down for approximately two weeks following an incident at its coke batteries over the weekend.

“We expect some impact on shipments, the extent of which will depend on the timeline to resume blast furnace operations,” the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario-based company said in a press release on Tuesday.

Blast furnace operations were initially suspended after a structure that supported utility piping on the coke plant collapsed on Saturday evening. When the company tried to resume iron making, it found that utility issues were not confined to the coke plant and had impacted the blast furnace as well.

Algoma has two blast furnaces: the No. 7, with daily iron-making capacity of 8,400 tons, and the smaller No. 6, with daily iron-making capacity of 3,000 tons. Only the No. 7 was active, according to SMU’s blast furnace status table.

“The company is evaluating the potential operational impact of the blast furnace being offline and currently expects to resume production within two weeks,” Algoma said in the statement.

While a repair plan for the coke plant is being worked on, “limited production” has resumed. “Algoma currently believes that it can source adequate coke from third-party suppliers to augment coke production and coke inventory on site,” the company said.

Algoma makes hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil, and plate. The company said its plate, strip mill, and cold mill were not impacted by the problems in iron- and coke-making. The company also noted that construction of its new EAFs remains on track.

Algoma plans to convert from integrated steelmaking to EAF steelmaking. Construction of two new EAFs is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. The new furnaces are expected to ramp up in 2025.

Michael Cowden

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