Corporation (USS) has elected to end steelmaking operations at its
Fairfield, Ala., Works.
In a statement
released this morning, USS “announced the proposed intent to permanently
close its blast furnace and associated steelmaking operations, along with
most of the flat-rolled finishing operations at Fairfield Works in
represented and non-represented employees will be affected by the
shuttering, which is expected to take place on or after Nov. 17, USS
spokesperson Sarah Cassella told the Chesterton Tribune.
“We have made some
difficult decisions over the last year as part of our portfolio
optimization,” said USS President and CEO Mario Longhi said. “We have
determined that the permanent shut-down of the Fairfield Works blast
furnace, steelmaking, and most of the finishing operations is necessary to
improve the overall efficiency and cost structure of our flat-rolled
that would permanently close include the blast furnace and steelmaking
operations, the hot strip mill, the pickle line, cold mill, annealing
facility, and stretch and temper line,” the statement said. “The slab and
rounds casters, the No. 5 coating line, and the Double G hot-dip galvanizing
joint venture in nearby Jackson, Miss., would continue to operate.”
The decision does
not impact Fairfield Tubular Operations or the electric arc furnace (EAF)
construction project, the company noted.
“This proposal was
initiated after careful market analysis of the company’s current and
long-term global operational footprint competitiveness,” the statement
added. “The construction of the EAF at Fairfield Works in place of the
facility’s existing blast furnace was included in that analysis.”
The closure of
Fairfield Works--which produces steel primarily for the automotive,
construction, and appliance markets--is “more in line with our long-term
global operational footprint,” the rationalization of which has been the
focus, for the last year and a half, of the belt-tightening strategy dubbed
the Carnegie Way.
The Fairfield Works
blast furnace was, in any case slated to be de-commissioned within the next
two years, replaced by an electric arc furnace currently under construction.
Electric arc furnaces make steel by melting down scrap, rather than starting
from scratch with iron ore and coal. The Fairfield electric arc furnace
project at least partially drove the decision to permanently close the Gary
Works coke batteries.