The hot strip mill of NLMK La Louviere has been idled until March for revamping, Kallanish learns from the company.
Production was halted on 6 February and it is understood the temporary stoppage will continue for a period of five weeks. Three new finishing lines will be installed at the site in this time. The revamp is part of the €150 million ($182m) investment into the site initiated last year, to enable production of thinner, stronger and more environmentally-sound steel.
Part of NLMK group’s “Strategy 2022”, the upgrade will increase the Belgian works’ output by 0.5 million tonnes to 2.2m t/year in 2022. It will also increase NLMK’s share of the niche flat products market in the EU.
NLMK group reported that towards the end of last year production levels at its European units picked up. According to the group’s calculations, capacity utilisation at its European assets – including the strip and plate units – reached 84% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with 64% in Q3 and 76% in Q2.