ArcelorMittal is going to commence the idling of the second blast furnace at its steelmaking site in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, the company confirms to Kallanish.
The shutdown procedure will take several weeks to guarantee safety, the firm explains. It is a temporary stop and when demand picks up, the site will resume production, it adds.
The site is currently running at 50% capacity. Blast furnace number 1 was mothballed on 23 March. The company is preparing to halt the second blast furnace due to a dramatic fall in orders from its main markets, such as Italy and Spain. The mothballing process of the second blast furnace will last several weeks.
The site employs 2,500 workers and 1,500 contractors. 80% of the employees are being temporarily laid off. The plant is going to maintain a minimum level of activity in order to be able to swiftly resume output when demand picks up, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region president Renaud Muselier told local press. He added that this is a temporary idling to face the current collapse in demand.