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U.S. Steel Corp Restarts Construction of Fairfield, Alabama, Electric Arc Furnace

02/12/2019
United States Steel Corporation reported it will restart of construction on a technologically advanced electric arc furnace steelmaking facility at its Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Alabama.

U. S. Steel said it previously initiated construction of the EAF in March 2015 and suspended construction in December 2015 due to unfavorable market conditions.

“We are pleased to announce the achievement of the market and performance stage gates required to restart our Tubular Segment EAF. This investment is an important step to improve our cost structure and positions our Tubular business to win over the long-term. We are committed to investing in the sustainable steel technology required to be a value-added tubular solutions provider for our customers,” said President & CEO David B. Burritt.

The investment to complete the EAF, which includes modernization of the existing rounds caster, is expected to be approximately $215 million and add about 150 full-time employees. The EAF will have an annual capacity of 1.6 million tons. Construction is expected to begin immediately and the furnace is expected to produce steel rounds in the second half of 2020.

“Thanks to the President’s strong trade actions and improved market conditions, support from the United Steelworkers and incentives from the State of Alabama and the Jefferson County Commission, we are excited to add EAF capabilities to our company’s footprint and provide sustainable tubular solutions for our customers, ” said Burritt.

The United Steelworkers union welcomed the announcement from U.S. Steel that it would restart construction of an electric arc furnace (EAF) at its facility in Fairfield, Alabama.

"The USW is pleased to have finally concluded an agreement with U.S. Steel to build a new EAF," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "This decision paves the way for a solid future in continuing to make steel in Alabama and the Birmingham region."

"This is an important step forward for the current employees making world-class pipe, and it will further result in additional jobs," said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who serves as chair of the union's U.S. Steel bargaining committee. "Restoring a hot end at the plant is essential to maintaining and growing good union jobs in Fairfield."

The USW in October reached a new four-year contract with U.S. Steel covering about 16,000 workers at the company's facilities across the United States, including Fairfield.

"The USW operates EAF furnaces at many of our represented plants across the country, and we look forward to starting up another new furnace and delivering top-quality products for our customers," said Kevin Keys, president of USW Local 1013, which represents the Fairfield workers.

The company said construction was expected to begin immediately and that the furnace would be producing steel by the second half of 2020.

"This re-establishes steelmaking again in the valley and ensures the future of the plant. It's a very welcome development," said Daniel Flippo, Director of USW District 9, which represents Alabama and six other states, as well as the Virgin Islands.

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