Unions disclose potential furnace halts at ArcelorMittal France

ArcelorMittal’s steelmaking site in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, is running at 50% capacity but a possible halt in production may be envisaged by the end of May, trade union sources tell Kallanish.

Blast furnace number 1 was mothballed on 23 March and the coke plant is running at minimum levels. The company is preparing to halt the second blast furnace and the coke plant due to a dramatic fall in orders from its main markets such as Italy and Spain. Fos-sur-Mer exports 90% of its output each year.

The site’s director Bruno Ribo told local newspaper La Provence that as there is little market visibility, the complete stoppage is not yet certain but is possible in the second half of May. In order to resume production, he said demand has to restart and the site needs 900,000 tonnes of steel demand each quarter for the two blast furnaces to be able to be restarted.

At the steelmaker’s other French integrated site in Dunkirk, the company has announced the halting of one of its three blast furnaces. It is understood to be preparing to stop a second one, according to trade unions. Some of the rolling lines located in Florange were restarted the week before last after a week-long stoppage.

ArcelorMittal did not reply to a Kallanish request for confirmation before publication deadline.