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MANA recalls workers, still on track for restart

Keywords: Tags  Max Aicher North America, MANA, David Cameron, U.S. Steel, Stelco, threader bar, worker recall, Michael Cowden

TORONTO — Max Aicher North America Inc. (MANA) has recalled the entire hourly work force at its Hamilton, Ontario, bar mill as it looks to resume production late in the second quarter.

Nearly 60 workers were recalled in late April, in part because of labor laws that would have made them eligible for severance pay if they had been out of work for 35 of the previous 52 weeks, chief financial officer David Cameron told AMM.

"We’ve recalled them so that we have a qualified work force when we start the mill back up and running, and we are still on target for late in the second quarter," he said.

About 90 salaried and hourly employees are currently working at MANA, he said.

MANA has nearly completed work on its water box, used to both strengthen and cool steel, Cameron said. The water box project has been the main activity at the mill, but workers also are de-winterizing the mill and collecting scrap in order to bring in revenue, he said.

"They’re doing productive work, and the mill has never looked cleaner," Cameron said. He stressed that no equipment—just "small amounts of metal that were no longer serving a purpose"—was being scrapped.

In addition to the repairs and cleanup, MANA also is working to secure a low-cost source of billet in North America. Cameron declined to say what companies might be candidates for supplying MANA with billet that would be used to make threaded bar, a construction product. "We are still working to conclude some deals," he said.

MANA has a production capacity of 300,000 tons per year based on levels achieved by previous owners—Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. and the former Stelco Inc. But Cameron said it was too early to say where production levels might be when the mill restarts, given that order intake, scheduling and billet supply details have yet to be confirmed.

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