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Severstal gears up for minimill in Russia

February 21, 2010
The Herald-Star

Several sources reported last week that Severstal, which owns the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, is planning to start construction in Russia on a new minimill this spring.

According to Steel Orbis, Severstal will invest about $198.6 million in construction of a new 1 million metric-ton annual capacity mini-mill and equipment purchase, with the total investment to top more than $600 million.

The plant is supposed to come on line in 2013. The story also was reported by Steel Business Briefing and Metalbulletin.

The word of the investment comes weeks after Severstal announced plans to sell $525 million in bonds to finance a doubling in size of its Columbus, Miss., plant.

The firm has said it will be reopening former Wheeling-Pitt lines in Yorkville and Martins Ferry, as well as its Warren operations, but has not specified the fate of the furnaces, caster and strip mill at Mingo Junction, where more than 1,000 remain off work. The Follansbee coke plant is returning to full capacity, the company said earlier this year.

According to a story from the Steel Business Briefing as carried by the American and Steel Institute's Web site, ArcelorMittal is in talks regarding the potential restart of a blast furnace at Leige, Belgium. The furnace, with a capacity of about 1.5 million tons a year was idled last May amid the economic downturn. Another blast furnace at the plant has been idled since Nov. 2008.

ArcelorMittal is using another of its French plants to feed slabs to the hot strip at Liege, which restarted in November and is running at less than its 3 million ton annual capacity, Steel Business Briefing said.

V&M Star announced a $650 million expansion of its plant between Girard and Youngstown, the Warren Tribune-Chronicle reported Monday.

The plant is expected to create 400 construction jobs during the next 18 months with 350 full-time jobs to result as production begins at the end of 2011 and ramps up through 2012.

V&M, a French-based firm, cited the proximity of its existing plant to the Marcellus Shale gas deposits across the region, which are being exploited by natural gas drillers.

Steelworkers at a Corus plant in Great Britain are preparing to strike, according to a story in Great Britain's The Times Web site.

The strike vote was being taken Friday in protest of the temporary closure of a 170-year-old steel plant in Tesside. The report said up to 1,600 jobs are being affected by the temporary closure of the plant. A national union official said the decision to idle the plant indicates Corus didn't want to sell it or keep it open.

(Steel Talk is compiled from various sources and is edited by Business Editor Paul Giannamore. His e-mail address is

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