ArcelorMittal confirms it has decided to postpone the planned restart of blast furnace no.1 at its plant in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France. The facility was idled in March in response to the slump in demand linked with the coronavirus pandemic. It will now remain idled until further notice.
The company announced at the beginning of September the intention to restart the BF, together with other relaunches of idled capacities in Spain and northern France. ArcelorMittal did not give reasons for the restart postponement, but unions believe it is linked with economic reasons. In recent weeks numerous market observers have called for EU steelmakers to avoid rushing to restart idled blast furnaces as the market remains uncertain.
According to a recent calculation published by UBS bank, 20 blast furnaces were idled in Europe, mainly in response to the Covid-19 emergency. Slightly more than a third are being restarted, Kallanish notes.