Liberty Steel to idle Dunaferr blast furnace

Liberty Steel is idling the remaining working blast furnace – no.2 – at Dunaferr because production costs are not economically feasible amid the current low steel prices, informed sources tell Kallanish.

The global steelmaking group acquired the insolvent Hungarian steelworks in an auction last month (see Kallanish passim).

In a letter to Dunaferr employees last week, management wrote: “The mill has been saved, but it should be put in order, to be prepared for a sustainable and green future to provide working places for those working at the mill. We are now working on the plan to switch to the production of GREENSTEEL, and as soon as approval from EU authorities is given, the work can begin.”

The letter also says Liberty will continue to pay the salaries of employees, while it develops retraining programmes, according to its legal obligations. The furnace shutdown is expected to last three months.

Liberty declined to comment.

BF2 was restarted in February after being idled last year amid Dunaferr’s well-publicised financial troubles.

According to reports last month following Liberty’s Dunaferr acquisition, investment exceeding $100 million will be required to regain the steelworks’ environmental protection permits necessary for operation.

In 2020, the last year for which Dunaferr published production data, it recorded crude steel production of 1.18 million tonnes, despite widely reported operational problems in the second half of the year. This was down 19% on-year. The firm’s BF1 remains idle since last summer.

Adam Smith Poland