NLMK restarts steel coil rolling at Belgium’s La Louviere mill

Belgian flat rolled steel producer NLMK La Louviere has resumed hot rolling operations at its 1.7 million mt/year hot strip mill, which had been idled in the second half of December, Russian parent company NLMK told S&P Global Commodity Insights Jan. 11.

The mill’s rolling operations are currently limited to a smaller range of coil thicknesses, an NLMK spokesperson said, adding that the team is working to return to full-capability operations as soon as possible while also taking actions to limit the impact on customers.

NLMK did not specify the reason for the unplanned shutdown nor did it say when the outage started, but market sources have previously said the plant suffered “issues with their hot-strip mill and a fire.”

NLMK La Louviere has also restarted its 600,000 mt/year cold rolling mill, which had been temporarily offline since mid-December for planned year-end maintenance, NLMK said.

The Belgium mill, a supplier of coils to the auto, machinery and construction industries, is part of NLMK Belgium Holdings, a joint venture between Belgian investment fund SOGEPA and Russian mining and steel company NLMK. Apart from La Louviere, NBH owns strip mill NLMK Strasbourg (France), NLMK Manage Steel Center (Belgium), and plate producers NLMK Clabecq (Belgium), NLMK DanSteel (Denmark) and NLMK Verona (Italy).

All of the plants process slab that NLMK delivers from its Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works in west Russia.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed North European hot-rolled coil price at Eur700/mt ($754) ex-works Ruhr on Jan. 10, down 2.8% on the day.

— Ekaterina Bouckley