The company may stop the unit in the spring if low demand and high volume of imports from third countries persist
ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steel producers, is considering shutting down blast furnace A (BF A) from April 1, 2024, at its Veriña steel plant in Gijón, Spain, if low demand and high volumes of steel imports from third countries continue to affect the company. This was reported by local media, including La Vozde Asturias.
Although the final decision has not yet been made, the company’s plans for 2024 include a corresponding measure in view of the market situation. The company’s annual plan was discussed on January 11 in the presence of 600 managers.
Currently, ArcelorMittal emphasizes that the decision «has not yet been made.» In addition, the company has no plan for the duration of such a shutdown, if it occurs, and there is no deadline for making a decision. The company is constantly monitoring the market situation.
The unions of the Spanish unit have already expressed concern about this situation and demand a proper explanation of further plans that could affect both production and employment in Gijón.
«We hope that production will be able to increase, and ArcelorMittal will not have to resort to capacity adjustments,» commented the Minister of Environmental Development, Industry and Economy of Spain, Nieves Roqueni.
ArcelorMittal’s Gijon plant is equipped with two blast furnaces with a total capacity of 4.7 million tons of pig iron per year.
On March 22, 2023, blast furnace A at the Gijon plant was shut down due to a fire that occurred during scheduled maintenance. It is believed that the fire was caused by an internal reaction when pig iron came into contact with water in the furnace crucible. Over the next three months, specialists cleaned the blast furnace of frozen pig iron.
At the end of June 2023, the company announced its intention to restart blast furnace A. During the downtime of blast furnace A, blast furnace B continued to operate as usual.
As GMK Center reported earlier, last year, the Spanish government approved €450 million in funding for a decarbonization project for ArcelorMittal’s Gijon plant. The company plans to build a direct reduction unit with an annual capacity of 2.3 million tons, thereby replacing two blast furnaces. The unit is scheduled to be commissioned in 2025.