U.S. Steel delays construction on new furnace in Alabama

U.S. Steel Corp. will delay plans to build a new $280 million furnace in Alabama that could produce steel from melting scrap “until market conditions improve” in both steel and the oil and gas industries.

The Pittsburgh company announced Monday that it is postponing construction on an electric arc furnace at its Fairfield Works in Birmingham, Ala. The move will not affect U.S. Steel’s current operations or its ability to serve customers, it said. 

The company has said the new furnace is expected to replace lost steelmaking capacity in blast furnaces, which heat iron ore, coke and limestone to produce steel. The new furnace would produce 1.6 million tons of steel a year. 

The announcement comes as U.S. Steel and other domestic steelmakers face competition from steel imports as well as slumping demand and prices. 

“The company continues to feel the effect of these energy market conditions, along with low steel prices and continued high levels of imports,” U.S. Steel stated in its release. 

U.S. Steel said in August it would close a blast furnace and finishing operations that produce flat-roll steel products at the same Alabama plant. 

Daniel Moore: dmoore@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore.

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