Change at U.S. Steel's Granite City Works won't help idled Keetac
The addition of slab steel operations at U.S. Steel's Granite City operations near St. Louis won't help restore work at the company's Keetac operations in Minnesota. U.S. Steel on Tuesday said it would begin processing slabs on the currently idle...
The addition of slab steel operations at U.S. Steel's Granite City operations near St. Louis won't help restore work at the company's Keetac operations in Minnesota.
U.S. Steel on Tuesday said it would begin processing slabs on the currently idled hot strip mill at Granite City Works in mid-February.
The company will get the steel slabs from its own operations. But U.S. Steel won't be restarting the blast furnaces at Granite City that have been idled for nearly one year, company officials told the News Tribune.
That probably won't happen until there's an upsurge in demand for tubular steel, namely steel pipeline used by the oil industry. And until Granite City's furnaces resume operations, it's likely that Keetac will remain idled. Some 400 employees at Keetac have now been out of work for more than 18 months.
Granite City "will not be making steel - they will now be rolling, at the hot strip mill, and finishing it. ... We cannot speculate as to a timeframe for the restart of the blast furnaces and/or steel shop," said Erin DePietro, spokeswoman for U.S. Steel. "Market conditions will determine whether we restart those areas of Granite City Works."
"There is no change in the operating status of Keetac," she said.
U.S. Steel President Mario Longhi last week was quoted as saying he would restore thousands of jobs that were lost in the past two years due to the downturn in U.S. domestic steel production. He later clarified his statement as meaning the domestic steel industry as a whole - not just his company - would restore thousands of jobs as demand for domestic steel increases.