Global steel production and capacity round-up, Nov 2023
November’s key developments to steelmaking operations across the globe have been compiled by steel insight provider MEPS International.
The articles featured below were initially included alongside steel prices and market commentary in MEPS subscribers’ monthly European Steel Review, International Steel Review and Stainless Steel Review publications.
Details of how to take out a subscription – ensuring a monthly delivery of data via email – can be found on the MEPS website.
British Steel plans to close the blast furnaces (BF) at its Scunthorpe facility as part of its company-wide decarbonisation initiative.
It intends to replace this capacity through the installation of electric arc furnaces (EAF) at its Scunthorpe and Teesside sites.
The steelmaker initially explored the option of installing a single large EAF at Scunthorpe. However, the necessary upgrades to the site's electricity supply rendered this plan unfeasible until 2034.
The planned EAF developments, which British Steel claims could be operational by late 2025, are subject to funding support from the UK government.
Acerinox’s quarter three financial results show net sales from its stainless steel division totalling EUR1.19 billion and an EBITDA of EUR95 million – down 36% and 53% year-on-year.
Year-to-date, the division's sales and EBITDA stand at EUR4.03bn and EUR483m, respectively.
The business melted 422,000 tonnes of stainless steel during the period, showing a year-on-year reduction of 12%. This decline was attributed to a lack of real demand for flat products in both the US and European markets. The company expects no significant demand recovery in quarter four.
Outokumpu delivered 449,000 tonnes of stainless steel in quarter three, generating EUR1.53 billion in revenue and an adjusted EBITDA of EUR51 million. In anticipation of a modest recovery in European demand, it expects deliveries to increase by up to 10% in the fourth quarter.
The company plans to reorganise its production routes in Germany, with precision strip production relocating from Dahlerbrück to Dillenburg (see this month’s Keynote). Additionally, the company plans to shut down its Hockenheim coil service centre.
Outokumpu has also announced the signing of an agreement to acquire a 10% stake in German stainless steel scrap recycler Cronimet as part of its efforts to secure supplies of high-quality scrap. The completion of this deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
German steelmaker thyssenkrupp new two-stand cold rolling reversing mill in Bochum has begun production.
The new equipment is part of a EUR300 million investment in the site and was installed to satisfy demand from the automotive industry for high-strength steel and electrical steel grades. An annealing and isolating line and an electrical steel inspection line will be added later.
The mill can produce strip between 0.2 millimetres and 2.3mm thick, in widths ranging from 700mm to 1,570mm. It has an annual production capacity of up to 475,000 tonnes.
Dillinger Hüttenwerke has completed the EUR26 million modernisation of the pusher furnace at its Dillingen heavy plate mill.
Slabs with thicknesses up to 600mm can now be heated more efficiently following the completion of a three-month installation period.
The company now expects the site’s annual heavy plate output to increase beyond the 1.26 million tonnes produced in 2022.
Long products manufacturer Acciaierie Venete has awarded a contract to heavy equipment manufacturer Danieli to construct a new wire rod line at its mill in Northern Italy.
The new facility will produce special steel grade smooth round bars with diameters from 5.5 millimetres to 25mm. Commissioning is expected in the first half of 2025.
ArcelorMittal Europe’s quarter three financial results show sales of USD8.9 billion and EBITDA of USD473 million – down by 17% and 49%, respectively.
Steel shipments declined by 8% year-on-year, to 6.5 million tonnes, while its crude steel output fell by 7% to 7.5m tonnes during the period. Weak seasonal demand and the slow ramp-up of production following the restart of BFs in Gijon and Dunkirk, in mid-July, were cited as reasons for the reductions.
ArcelorMittal has now revised its European apparent steel consumption forecast for the remainder of the year down by 0.5% to 1.5%. It also confirmed that it was focussed on replenishing its metal stock throughout the second half of 2023.
JFE Bars and Shapes Corporation
Japanese long product manufacturer JFE Bars and Shapes Corporation is set to modernise the EAF located at its Himeji Works, in Hyogo prefecture.
The project will aim to improve the energy and production efficiency of the 950,000 tonnes per year capacity furnace by 10%. This will be achieved by installing a new variable frequency power supply system. The work is due to be completed in mid-2025.
Xiangtan Iron and Steel
Xiangtan Iron and Steel has completed a series of upgrades to its heavy plate rolling mill.
The changes introduced by the steelmaker, which is based in China’s Hunan province, will reduce deviations in thickness of the plate produced at the plant. Improvements have also been made to the line’s automation systems.
The company has capacity to produce up to 12 million tonnes of heavy plate and bar products each year. It primarily supplies the shipbuilding and construction markets.
Tangshan Donghua Iron & Steel
The world’s first three-strand continuous slab caster is being operated by Tangshan Donghua Iron & Steel following its installation by equipment manufacturer Primetals. The new equipment is located at the Chinese steelmaker’s plant in Hebei province.
The eight-meter radius caster can produce slabs up to 210 millimetres thick, with widths ranging between 750mm and 1,100mm at a speed of up to 2.5 metres per minute.
Primetals has stated that the caster’s three-strand configuration offers considerable space, maintenance and capital expenditure savings when compared with other designs.
Zhejiang Tsingshan has received approval to move ahead with its investment to increase output at its Lishui City facility, in the southwest of Zhejiang province.
The plan includes the construction of a new AOD refining furnace and an alloy melting furnace. The site’s current annual stainless steel output of 320,000 tonnes is expected to increase by close to 10% upon completion of the project.
Nucor is assessing sites for a new micro mill in the Pacific Northwest and preparing for the USD280 million modernisation of its plate mill, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The proposed Pacific Northwest plant will target an annual production capacity of up to 650,000 short tons of rebar. However, the planned facility remains subject to approval by the company’s board of directors.
Nucor currently operates rebar micro mills in Missouri and Florida. Another is currently under construction in North Carolina and is due to be commissioned in early-2025.
Nucor’s investment in its Tuscaloosa plate mill, in Alabama, has been approved. Its modernisation package will include the construction of a new mill stand at the 1.2 million short ton capacity facility. Following its installation, the Tuscaloosa site will be able to process semi-finished steel from Nucor’s other Plate Mill Group facilities in Brandenburg, Kentucky and Hertford County, North Carolina.