AK Steel closing Ashland coke plant

Dec 29, 2010 | 12:42 PM | Lisa Gordon

Higher operating expenses and potential upgrade costs in excess of $50 million have led to AK Steel Corp.'s decision to permanently close its Ashland, Ky., coke plant in the upcoming year.

The company said increased maintenance costs, coupled with more rigorous environmental regulations, have made the coke making facility uncompetitive. Ashland is said to rank as the highest-cost supplier among all AK's coke sources.

Measures are underway for the closure, which is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2011.

AK Steel said it will attempt to find jobs for the coke plant's 263 hourly and salaried employees either at its nearby Ashland Works or somewhere else within the company. "AK Steel recognizes that this is a difficult time for the employees who are affected," said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We are committed to helping them as much as possible during this transition, including, where possible, placing them in jobs available elsewhere at the Ashland Works or other operations within the corporation."....

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