U.S. Metallurgical Company Steel resumed operations at No. 1 blast furnace at Mon Valley in Pennsylvania, which was shut down on April 30 due to the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.
This is the first blast furnace in the United States that returned to operation after a series of closures in March-May, when more than 16 million tons of pig iron per year were temporarily decommissioned in the country. U.S. itself Steel closed five of its eight blast furnaces.
U.S. Initiative Steel was supported by another American company, Cleveland-Cliffs. Its steel division, AK Steel, will again launch a blast furnace with a capacity of nearly 2 million tons per year at the Dearborn plant in Michigan in the first half of July.
True, the restoration of the production of hot-rolled steel at this enterprise is not yet planned. The slabs will be sent for rolling to another company plant – Middletown Works in Ohio.
According to AK Steel, in the US, demand from the automotive industry, the country’s largest consumer of sheet metal, began to recover. However, according to the forecast of AutoForecast Solutions, in 2020 only 12.25 million cars will be manufactured in the USA, which is 26% less than a year earlier.
To improve the supply of raw materials to its division, Cliffs will resume iron ore and pellet production at the Tilden plant in Michigan in the second half of June, where 7.7 million tons of iron ore were produced in 2019.
In addition, the company will resume construction of a hot briquette iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio, suspended in March. The launch of this enterprise with a capacity of 1.9 million tons per year was previously planned in June 2020, but has now been postponed to the end of the fourth quarter.