Nucor has temporarily suspended operations at its Louisiana direct reduced iron (DRI) plant.
Days earlier, the company also announced it’s temporarily shutting down its Nu-Iron DRI plant sites in Trinidad and Tobago in compliance with the country’s COVID-19 containment policies.
In an email to Davis Index, Katherine Miller, spokeswoman for Nucor, highlighted the importance of shutting the Louisiana DRI plant because the state has been hit hard by the virus. Moreover, economic uncertainty has gripped the US and affected steel production volumes, she added.
Nucor’s steel mills that use DRI as feedstock remain operational and are using existing DRI inventory. Outages at the DRI plants aren’t expected to impact the company’s steelmaking operations, and no layoffs have been announced. Save for small on-site maintenance crews, most employees are abiding stay-at-home orders.
Nucor’s US steel mills and downstream businesses also remain operational—they have been identified as essential businesses in the states wherein they operate—but there’s potential for lower production levels to result from softer market demand.
Nucor’s DRI plant in Louisiana is one of the largest plants in the world, and has an annual capacity of 2.5mn nt (2.3mn mt). Depending on how long the moratoriums are in place and what production levels are upon resumption, the DRI shortage could support slightly higher demand and prices for ferrous scrap in the US.