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No plans to restart Hamilton Works: U.S. Steel

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, Hamilton Works, Lake Erie Works, Ontario, Canada, labor negotiations, steel, John Surma Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — U.S. Steel Corp. has no immediate plans to restart steelmaking operations at its Hamilton Works in Ontario.

“We would love to be making steel in Hamilton. But we’ve got to find a way to do that and make money at the same time,” U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive officer John P. Surma said during a conference call with analysts Jan. 29.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker is keeping an eye on market conditions; should they become favorable, the company will determine if the trend is sustainable. “Then we take a look at costs and say, ‘Is this something we can do based on what the demand is?’” Surma said.

But the conditions necessary to resume steelmaking in Hamilton have not occurred, given that overall steel consumption in the United States and Canada remains about 10 percent below pre-recession levels, Surma said.

“It’s taking a while to get back to that,” he said. “We’re making gradual progress every year. ... But we just haven’t had the right combination of factors.”

While the company isn’t making steel at its Hamilton Works, it has resumed cold-mill operations at the plant following a nearly yearlong labor dispute with unionized workers (, June 18).

Hamilton’s Z-line is processing steel coils made at the company’s Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario (, March 22). The Z-line, which features the world’s largest zinc pot, was built to serve the automotive industry, according to U.S. Steel’s website.

Surma also noted that while the steelmaker’s labor agreement with employees at its Lake Erie Works is set to expire April 15, “we’re optimistic we’ll be able to reach a competitive contract without any disruption,” he said.

The last time Lake Erie Works employees and the company were engaged in negotiations, union workers were locked out for eight months before the two sides struck their three-year labor deal in April 2010 (, April 16, 2010).

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