Steel News

Section 232 Decision Prompts U. S. Steel to Restart Illinois Blast Furnace

3/7/2018 - United States Steel Corporation plans to restart the B blast furnace at its Granite City Works in Illinois as a result of President Donald Trump’s proposed blanket tariff on imported steel, the company said on Wednesday. 

“Our Granite City Works facility and employees, as well as the surrounding community, have suffered too long from the unending waves of unfairly traded steel products that have flooded U.S. markets,” U. S. Steel president and chief executive David B. Burritt said in a statement.

“The Section 232 action announced by President Trump last week recognizes the significant threat steel imports pose to our national and economic security.” 

The B furnace is one of Granite City’s two blast furnaces, both of which were idled in December 2015, along with the rest of the hot end and the strip mill. The company blamed the decision on global overcapacity and competition from unfairly traded imports. 

Although U. S. Steel restarted the strip mill in February 2017 to give itself some operating slack as it quickened the pace of its asset revitalization program, the blast furnaces have remained in mothballs. 

U. S. Steel said the restart could take up to four months. It anticipates recalling about 500 employees beginning this month. 

“We’ve worked closely and cooperatively with leadership of the United Steelworkers to develop a plan that will help us work through the restart process in the safest, most efficient manner possible while enabling longer-term collaboration designed to improve the plant’s competitiveness,” Burritt said.

The furnace has a nameplate capacity of 1.2 million tons annually, according to AIST records.