ArcelorMittal, Gerdau idle mills: Update

Adds additional idling of Gerdau mill

Steelmakers ArcelorMittal and Gerdau are idling operations in North America amid falling steel demand from coronavirus-related closures, particularly in the automotive sector.

Less than a week after US automakers announced sweeping shutdowns in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, ArcelorMittal said it will idle blast furnace No 4 at its Indiana Harbor West integrated flat-rolled steel mill near Chicago, leaving only the No 7 blast furnace of Indiana Harbor East running.

In November, ArcelorMittal idled its blast furnace No 3 at Indiana Harbor West, which had a production capacity of 4,960 short ton (st)/day of pig iron.

The steelmaker will also idle its 871,000 st/yr blast furnace No 4 at its Dofasco flat-rolled mill in Hamilton, Ontario. The company said the blast furnace currently only represents 5pc of its slab production, though it did not provide production figures for the mill.

ArcelorMittal has idled multiple blast furnaces in Europe due to coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Long steelmaker Gerdau suspended melting and rolling operations this weekend at its special steel operations, which include electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mills located in Jackson and Monroe, Michigan, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Combined, Gerdau's US special steel operations can produce nearly 1.6mn st/yr of special bars, shapes and cold finished bar, and 1.67mn st/yr of rolled products.

The 331,000st/yr special bar quality (SBQ) mill in Jackson was already slated to idle in mid-April.

The company also has idled the melt shop at its 1mn st/yr merchant bar EAF mill in Cartersville, Georgia, through the end of the month.