ArcelorMittal to Restart Idled Furnace, Announces Layoffs
"ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor has begun preparations to restart Indiana Harbor No. 4 blast furnace," a company spokesman told the newspaper. "The flexibility afforded by our ArcelorMittal USA assets allows the company to continue matching production with customer demand."
Two weeks ago, a stove dome failed at the Burns Harbor D furnace, causing an explosion and fire. No injuries were reported.
The decision to restart the idled furnace does not, however, mitigate a round of layoffs at two ArcelorMittal plants. According to The Times, the steelmaker is laying off approximately 1,000 salaried and union workers at the Indiana Harbor, Ind., and Cleveland, Ohio, plants.
In a notification letter to the state of Indiana, Indiana Harbor vice president and general manager Wendell Carter said the move was necessary due to declining demand.
"Many of the company’s customers closed their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite their reopenings, business conditions continue to be depressed during the pandemic, with no significant improvement in demand for the products we manufacture foreseen in the near term. This has had a direct impact on our business," Carter wrote, The Times reported.