Chesterton Tribune



US Steel to close Fairfield, Alabama Works

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U.S. Steel 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 Fairfield, Ala.”

Approximately 1,100 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 segment.”

“The facilities 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.



Posted 8/17/2015




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