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Essar pellet site on track, but slab on hold

Keywords: Tags  Essar, Essar Steel Algoma, Akhil Dutta, Essar Steel Minnesota, pellet, slab, slab casting, Steel Market Update Steel Summit

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Essar Steel Minnesota LLC plans to begin pellet production in 2013, but a previously slated slab-casting facility won’t be in the cards under current market conditions, a company executive said.

The pellet project is expected to get started "sometime in the later part of 2013" and will have an initial capacity of some 4 million tons per year. That is expected to ramp up to roughly 6 million tons per year after seven to eight months of operation, Essar Steel Algoma Inc. general manager of U.S. sales Akhil Dutta said.

But there are "absolutely no" plans to go ahead with a slab caster at present, he added.

"Yes, it has been contemplated. And if the market conditions really look promising, then it can be done," Dutta said. "The provision has already been provided to put up a slab plant. But right now, there are not any concrete plans for it."

Dutta made the comments Monday during a question-and-answer session at Steel Market Update’s third annual Steel Summit conference in Rosemont, Ill.

Pellets from Nashwauk, Minn.-based Essar Steel Minnesota are expected to supply sister company Essar Steel Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (, June 8, 2011).

Another phase of the Minnesota project calls for a direct-reduced iron facility and a slab-casting plant that had been slated to begin operation in 2015 (, July 28, 2011).

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