SSAB to idle further blast furnace in November

SSAB has announced its intention to idle another of its blast furnaces in Europe from the end of November for a period of four to six weeks due to weak market conditions, Kallanish learns from the company.

The stoppage will be implemented at the Raahe plant in Finland, and involve a furnace with a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes/year of hot metal. The restart of the operation will be decided according to market conditions.

Earlier this year, in July, the company stopped production for the same reason at its smaller blast furnace in Oxelösund, Sweden, with a capacity of just 500,000 t/y of hot metal.

“To achieve further reductions of cost and capacity, we will idle one of the blast furnaces in Raahe at the end of November,” SSAB ceo Martin Lindqvist said during the presentation of the company’s third-quarter results. The firm’s profit fell significantly year-on-year in the quarter.

The steel market weakness has forced a number of European steelmakers to drastically reduce their output through temporary stoppages of furnaces and rolling lines across the continent (see Kallanish passim).