Italy’s blast furnace (BF) steel production jumped 19.7pc to 365,000mt in February 2021, compared with 305,000mt in the prior month, according to the latest data release by the World Steel Association.
The sharp increase in national hot metal production was largely a result of ArcelorMittal Italia restarting BF #2 at its Taranto steelworks from Jan 26. The company announced that it had signed a binding agreement on Dec 10 with the Italian government through its Invitalia investment vehicle for a 50:50 public-private partnership.
ArcelorMittal and the Italian government aim to boost the Taranto steelworks’ pig iron output up towards 5.0mn mt in 2021 from 3.4mn mt in 2020. Of the company’s five BFs, only #1, # 2 and #4 are currently fully operational, producing 12,000-13,000mt per day of hot metal. The plant’s BF #5 is the largest blast furnace in Europe with a annual capacity of around 3.5mn mt per annum and was idled in 2015. BF #3 has a capacity of around 2mn mt per year, but was idled in 1994 and is scheduled to be dismantled.