NEW YORK ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. will shutter its No. 1 coke plant in March 2015 after 62 years in operation, the company said in a June 27 letter to employees.
"This decision comes after years of ongoing study as we monitored our coke needs against the performance and life expectancy of our current asset," Tony Valeri, vice president, corporate communications and public affairs, told AMM in an e-mail.
While the steel producers No. 1 coke plant will be phased out, ArcelorMittal Dofasco will continue to operate its No. 2 and No. 3 facilities, both of which met company requirements after a recent on-site audit, the company said, noting that it has set up a plan to maintain a steady supply of material after the No. 1 plant closes. The No. 2 and No. 3 facilities are capable of producing approximately 520,000 tons and 320,000 tons of coke per year respectively.
"To ensure a stable and secure supply of coke for our primary operations, ArcelorMittal Dofasco will now be responsible for managing an ArcelorMittal cokemaking facility in Monessen, Pa.," the company said in the letter to employees. "This facility was rebuilt in 1980 and is capable of producing 360,000 tons of coke per year. Over the coming months, our purchasing teams will look for ways to optimize transportation and logistics for our coke supply."
Earlier this year, the Hamilton, Ontario-based steelmaker was charged by Ontarios Ministry of Environment for 13 counts of allegedly exceeding visible emissions levels related to the cokemaking facility (amm.com, March 28). The court date in that case has since been postponed to Sept. 3.
The steelmaker, part of the Flat Carbon Americas unit of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA, said that it has had meetings with employees in the area and will be working with permanent employees on possible reassignments.
"Between now and March 2015, we will continue to make coke at all of our facilities, and our repair and maintenance teams will continue to service the No. 1 plant batteries and ovens," the company added. "Our maintenance investment in the plant will continue until it is phased out, which is approximately C$10 million ($9.5 million) each year to ensure it maintains performance."
ArcelorMittal Dofasco operates on a 750-acre steelmaking complex and produces a range of flat-rolled steels. The facility includes three coke plants, two operating blast furnaces, a basic oxygen steelmaking furnace, an electric-arc furnace, two slab casters, a hot-strip rolling mill, pickling lines, cold-rolling mills, annealing and tempering facilities, galvanizing lines, an electrolytic tinning line and two tube mills, according to its website.