Pittsburgh’s transformation from steel and manufacturing to eds and meds is a well-known story that continues to attract national attention, this time from Time Magazine.
Production halts at U.S. Steel’s two largest mills could dent what is usually a good quarter for the Pittsburgh steelmaker and lead to higher steel prices.
On Wednesday, U.S. Steel informed customers of its Gary, Ind., mill that it was curtailing blast furnace and steelmaking operations at that plant because icy conditions on the Great Lakes are delaying shipments of iron ore from its Minnesota mines. The letter gave no word on how long those delays could last but was hopeful that shipments will improve with warming temperatures.
“It is possible that our ability to timely fill your orders will be temporarily impacted,” the company wrote, adding that it is trying to mitigate any impact of customers.
The announcement follows an incident last week at U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes mill near Detroit that forced the company to halt steel production there. Media reports indicate a large pipe damaged the roof covering one of its steelmaking furnaces.
U.S. Steel today formally commissioned a new battery of ovens at its Clairton coke plant, a $500 million project the company said will preserve steelmaking jobs in the Mon Valley and improve the region’s air quality.
The project is a scaled back version of the $1 billion proposal the Pittsburgh steelmaker announced in late 2007, before the global recession decimated steel demand and caused the industry to retrench.
President and CEO John P. Surma said even after the scope was reduced, the project was the largest in the history of the Clairton plant and one of the largest in U.S. Steel’s 112-year history. He said it secures the jobs of 1,300 Clairton employees as well as the 1,400 who work at the company’s Edgar Thomson plant in Braddock and the Irvin plant in West Mifflin.