Gerdau is idling the 560,000st (508,167mt) melt shop and rolling mill at its St. Paul, Minnesota site in June 2020, and will divert capacity to other mills.
The site produces long products, like rebar, merchant bar, round bar, and special bar qualities (SBQ). Finishing facilities at the site for heat-treating will remain operational, along with warehousing and logistics. Approximately 250 of the 300 employees will be affected.
Gerdau recently approved a series of significant investments in its North American mills to help the company remain competitive and sustainable, said Chia Yuan Wang, president of Gerdau Long Steel North America.
At the end of 2014, the St. Paul mill completed a $60mn project to replace its continuous caster and improve the quality of its engineered steel. The site has been operational since Gerdau acquired North Star Steel, which includes the St. Paul mill, from Cargill 16 years ago for $266mn.
However, weak construction activity and a decelerating economy prompted Gerdau to consolidate its manufacturing capabilities. The company’s latest announcement comes on the heels of a plan to idle its Jackson, Michigan SBQ plant in April.
Gerdau will continue operating Duluth Grinding Ball in Minnesota, the only site in North America where it produces grinding balls.
Gerdau operates six other long product mills in the US and three in Canada, including rebar sites in Whitby, Ontario and Jackson, Tennessee. The company produces round longs in Cambridge, Ontario, and Selkirk, Manitoba, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina and Midlothian, Texas.