Limestone or flux, it’s a sharp turn from feast to famine

Jan 01, 2009 | 11:31 AM |

Everything has its ups and downs, and the market for consumables—fluxing materials such as limestone, electrodes used in electric furnace steel manufacturing and refractory materials—is no different. But the highs and lows of the ride can at times be enough to give some sectors whiplash.

Timothy Byrne, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Lime & Minerals Inc., Dallas, watched his company's lime and limestone revenue soar during the first nine months of 2008. What he saw as the third quarter drew to a close, however, was more troubling. While demand for lime from steel customers was strong through the first three quarters, the company witnessed a sharp reduction in demand in October due to worsening economic conditions.....

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