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US Steel stoppages may cut 3 million mt iron ore, met coal demand in 2019

  • Author
  • Hector Forster
  • Editor
  • Dan Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Metals

London — US Steel's plan to idle three blast furnaces, starting in July, may cut iron ore pellets and fines demand by over 2.5 million mt and hit demand for US and other met coals by more than 0.5 million mt, according to estimates by S&P Global Platts.

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US Steel said it would idle two blast furnaces in the US as well as one in Europe until market conditions improved, with flat steel prices having fallen in the first half of 2019, based on Platts assessments.

The furnace idlings at Gary Works in Indiana and Great Lakes Works in Michigan may decrease monthly blast furnace production capacity by about 200,000-225,000 st beginning in July, while at Kosice, Slovakia, the 125,000 st/month blast furnace No. 2 will be idled.

Coking coal and PCI demand to related met coke consumption at around half the rate of crude steel production may be affected, depending on scrap consumption rates.

US Steel uses a range of US met coals at its huge Clairton coke works for its Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana steel plants, and at its Granite City blast furnaces through Suncoke's Gateway coke facility

US Steel mines iron ore in the US and produces pellets, used at its US blast furnaces and exported.

The US Steel plants in the US are designed to run on pellets, while 4.5 million mt/year flat steel producer US Steel Kosice is said by sources to use a range of iron ore grades.

-- Hector Forster, hector.forster@spglobal.com

--Edited by Dan Lalor, daniel.lalor@spglobal.com