Posts Tagged ‘steel mills’

B&O Two for Tuesday

January 31, 2023

Today’s two for Tuesday focuses on the Baltimore & Ohio in the 1970s. In the top image, B&O GP35 No. 3559 leads an eastbound near Kent. The bottom image was made in Youngstown. Leading a train through the area is B&O GP40-2 No. 4161. The unit has already received Chessie System paint unlike its two running mates in this gritty industrial scene that captures well railroading in the Mahoning Valley when steelmaking was still king.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

W&W to Serve New W.Va. Steel Mill

December 11, 2022

The Winchester & Western Railroad will serve a new West Virginia steel mill.

Located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, and owned by Commercial Metals, the mill will manufacture steel steel rebar.

The CMC mill project is a joint economic development effort by OmniTRAX, West Virginia state leaders and Berkeley County.

In a news release, OmniTRAX, which owned the W&W, said it supplemented a state and county incentive package with a custom rail service agreement and additional infrastructure investments.

The mill is expected to open in late 2025.

Nucor Planning New W.Va. Sheet Steel Mill

February 9, 2022

Steel company Nucor plans to build a new plant in West Virginia that will be served by CSX.

The $2.7 billion-plus sheet steel mill will be located in Mason County and is expected to take two years to develop pending permit and regulatory approvals.

The mill is projected to have the capacity to produce up to 3 million tons of sheet steel per year for the automotive, appliance, HVAC, heavy equipment, agricultural, transportation and construction markets.

Nucor, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the plant will create 84-inch sheet products and, among other features, will include a 76-inch tandem cold mill and, initially, two galvanizing lines. Galvanizing capabilities are said to include an advanced high-end automotive line with full inspection capabilities as well as a construction-grade line.

The plant will employ 800, company officials said, and serve customers in the upper Midwest and Northeast.

In announcing development of the steel plant, Nucor said it considered sites for the facility in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Been Around a Spell

July 8, 2020

I’m not sure what this locomotive is but it was photographed at Follansbee Steel on Nov. 25, 1972, in Wierton, West Virginia.

Follansbee Steel itself has been out of business in 2012.

This unit just looks like one you could expect to find at a steel plant.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

U.S. Steel to Idle Much of its Great Lakes Works

December 23, 2019

U.S. Steel plans to lay off more than 1,000 workers in the Detroit area as it begins idling next spring what it termed a significant portion of its Great Lakes Works in Ecorse and River Rouge.

By the end of 2020 the company said the hot strip mill rolling facility will be idled.

The Pittsburgh-based company said production now done at Great Lakes Works will shift to a plant in Gary, Indiana.

The idling will result in layoffs for 1,545 workers U.S. Steel said of the move, which it framed as a response to market demand.

In a news release, U.S. Steel said no employees at the Zug Island plant will lose their jobs before next April.

The news release said the final number of layoffs at Great Lakes Works might be lower than 1,545 because some operations will continue.

These include the pickle line, cold mill, sheet temper mill, continuous galvanizing line, annealing and warehouses.

“Transitioning production currently at Great Lakes Works to Gary Works will enable increased efficiency in the use of our assets, improve our ability to meet our customers’ needs for sustainable steel solutions and will help our company get to our future state faster,” said David Burritt, president and CEO of U.S. Steel, said in a statement.

The statement said the company took into account current market conditions and the long-term outlook for the Great Lakes Works.

The latest move is the second time that production at the Great Lakes Works has been curtailed.

Last August the company announced it was temporarily laying off 200 workers due to idling a furnace due to reduced consumer demand and market conditions.

Crain’s Detroit Business reported that the impact of tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration on Chinese steel imports two years ago may have contributed to the decision to idle the Great Lake Works.

The magazine said U.S. Steel ramped up production at a time when the global economy was cooling and that undercut demand and led to lower prices for steel.

Industry observers have noted that U.S. Steel has older production facilities that are less efficient than those of rival steel companies that use mini mill production.

U.S. Steel has had a series of different strategies in the past two years, leading some to “raise concerns that there’s no long-term, overriding execution capability to improve competitiveness,” wrote Richard Bourke, a senior credit analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in a note to investors.  “Cash costs from layoffs will likely exceed savings from the cuts, in our view.”

Bloomberg reported that the price of domestic steel is down about 40 percent from its 2018 high, which it reached a few weeks after the tariffs were imposed.

U.S. Steel shares have fallen in value this year by a about a third, hitting their lowest levels since October 2016.

Bloomberg said the company expects to report a 98 percent drop in profits for 2019.

The idling of the Great Lakes Works has raised questions about how well U.S. Steel will be able to supply steel for automotive industry parts after it moves production from Detroit to Indiana.

“They just idled their main automotive mill,” said Dan DeMare, a regional sales manager for Heidtman Steel, a Toledo, Ohio-based steel distributor. “They have bet everything on their commercial ability to be viable and offer the cost to market that’s required, and they’re going to have facilities, equipment and a plan to execute. They’ve failed miserably at that so far.”

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross contended that the idling of the Great Lake Works plant doesn’t mean that the steel tariffs aren’t working.

Ross argued that U.S. Steel suffers from high costs and that many of those losing their jobs will be able to find work at nearby General Motors and Ford Motor plants.

Cleveland-Cliffs to Acquire AK Steel

December 6, 2019

Cleveland-Cliffs has agreed to buy steelmaker AK Steel in a transaction being valued at $1.1 billion.

Based in Cleveland, Cliffs said it will provide iron ore pellets to AK Steel’s blast furnaces and electric arc furnaces as part of a vertically integrated steel company.

AK Steel’s facilities are located near Cincinnati.

“We’re going to basically replicate what Arcelormittal does out of Hibbing and Minorca and what U.S. Steel does out of Keetac and Minntac,” Cliffs President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in a conference call with investors Tuesday morning.

He was referring to mines in the Minnesota Iron Range that supply iron ore to steel mills in Indiana Harbor, Indiana, and in Virginia.

Cliffs mines mines taconite and produces iron ore pellets at Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay and United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes. Cliffs also owns and operates the Tilden mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Goncalves said the two companies will operate separately until the merger wins approval, which is expected to be in the first half of 2020.

No Cliffs offices or facilities are expected to close after the sale.

“I do not anticipate changes to our existing organization, so it is business as usual for our employees,” Goncalves said.

AK Steel is a producer of flat-rolled carbon and stainless and electrical steel products that is supplies to the automobile industry.

Cliffs will continue to sell pellets to other steel companies, Goncalves said.

Once the transaction is complete, AK Steel will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cliffs but will keep its branding and corporate identity.

Steel Mill That Made Rails Burns

November 11, 2016

A factory in Lackawanna, New York, that made rail burned this week.

train image2The former Bethlehem Steel mill buildings in suburban Buffalo caught fired after a light bulb touched off flammable materials in the decades-old complex.

The plant made rail that is still used on many railroad lines today. The complex also was used to make steel for locomotives, tanks, warships and automobiles.

The mill that rolled the rails was closed in the 1980s.