Unions at ArcelorMittal’s integrated flat steelmaking site of Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, report that the company is planning to further reduce output in the short term.
Earlier in March the company confirmed that one of two blast furnaces at the site had been taken temporarily offline due to the coronavirus emergency. Now it appears the company is implementing a programme to stop crude steel production at the site completely in the coming weeks.
A representative from the unions at the plant says the lead time necessary to stop production completely at the mill could mean the facilities will be halted just as the epidemic peak passes. He is concerned the stoppage at the mill could therefore continue beyond the containment measures imposed in most European countries.
At the other French integrated site controlled by ArcelorMittal, in Dunkirk, the company earlier announced the stoppage of one of its three blast furnaces. It is understood to be preparing to stop a second one, according to trade unions, while the third and largest will continue operating.
Some of the rolling lines located in Florange were restarted last week, after a week-long stoppage.
Contacted by Kallanish, ArcelorMittal declined to give new details on the French closures. Earlier this week it said: “In response […to the coronavirus crisis] we are reducing production and temporarily idling steelmaking and finishing assets, adapted on a country by country basis in alignment with regional demand as well as government requirements.”