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US Steel to idle East Chicago tin mill in Indiana

Pittsburgh — US Steel said Friday it will idle its East Chicago, Indiana, tin mill due to challenging market conditions and consolidate its tin mill production to the company's two remaining tin mill operations, according to a statement sent to S&P Global Platts.

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"Following extensive market analysis of our global competitiveness in light of high levels of low-priced imported tin mill products entering the United States, we have decided to consolidate our current tin mill products production from three to two facilities, idling our East Chicago, Indiana, facility by mid-November 2019," the company said in a statement. "Our goal is to place as many East Chicago Tin employees as possible at other nearby US Steel facilities."

The company expects to offer about half of the East Chicago tin mill's 297 employees positions at the company's Gary Works and Midwest Plant in northwest Indiana. Exact numbers have not been finalized and are subject to discussions with the United Steelworkers union, the company said.

"We have made significant asset revitalization investments in our tin mill production capabilities at our Gary Works and Midwest Plant that have yielded notable quality and delivery improvements, increasing our first-time prime yield and capacity at these facilities," the company said. "We will be working closely with our customers to ensure a smooth transition during this process."

A significant contributor to the company's decision to idle the mill is low tin mill capacity utilization as a result of continued high levels of low-priced imports, which have captured roughly half of the US tin mill products market, according to the company.

"These import levels make operating a three-facility footprint like ours unsustainable under current market conditions," US Steel said.

Earlier in the week, ArcelorMittal USA said it was laying off approximately 100 employees at its tin mill in Weirton, West Virginia, also citing challenging conditions in the US domestic tin mill market.

-- Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Joe Innace, newsdesk@spglobal.com