ArcelorMittal France restarted one of the two idled blast furnaces at its Dunkerque facility last week.
According to local media reports, blast furnace #3 (BF3) was restarted to compensate for maintenance works at the company’s other steelmaking plants in Ghent and Poland. Blast furnace #4 (BF4) with an ironmaking capacity of 3mn mt per year has been kept operational to meet downstream steel demand from the food and beverage packaging industry.
Dunkerque’s BF3 is estimated to have an annual capacity of more than 2mn mt while BF2, which is not expected to restart before 2021, has a capacity of 1.7mn mt per year. The restart of BF3 is expected to bring back a portion of the plant’s 3,100 furloughed employees as the company only intends to operate it at two-thirds of its capacity.
ArcelorMittal had announced plans to resume production in mid-July after the furnace was idled from March 23 in response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown.
In an unrelated incident, ArcelorMittal also confirmed that some hot melt had escaped from BF4 creating a large dust cloud with the incident brought under control the same day.
ArcelorMittal Dunkerque operates one coke oven, two sinter plants, three converters, three ladle treatment stations, three continuous casters, three blast furnaces, and one hot-rolled strip mill.