New York — Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine has restarted its second blast furnace to meet demand growth, the company said Jan. 21.
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The Donawitz site, which produces long steel, is now back to a two blast furnace production. The restarted blast furnace with an annual pig iron production capacity of 750,000 mt has been idled since summer 2020 for repairs and kept offline during the demand slump in 2020.
The two blast furnaces combined have an annual capacity of 1.5 million mt.
Voestalpine said that all the group's five blast furnaces are back in operation following pandemic-related stoppages in 2020. All five furnaces have a combined capacity of 5 million mt/year pig iron.
The company remained cautious on the economic outlook and said that the coming months remain "extremely uncertain."
Nevertheless, the European steel market has seen an increase in demand compared with 2020, with long and flat steel prices at their highest since 2008, according to the Platts domestic rebar assessment for Northern Europe and Platts HRC EXW Ruhr assessment.
Several European steel producers such as ArcelorMittal Gent, Bremen and Dunkerque were heard to have restarted in January as the European steel market in particular faces material shortages. Sources, however, suggested those ramp-ups will only have an effect in several months, when demand outlook looks unclear from the current perspective.