Steel Times International Issue
October 2020

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October 2020

I’ve always loved the American attitude. Whenever I find myself stateside, away from the negativity and whinging of British people, it’s refreshing to note, and wallow, in the life-affirming positivity emanating from the Americans. America has its problems right now, and I’m sure there’s plenty of anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, which, sadly, has taken over 200,000 American lives, but still, despite such tragedy, the people exude a healthy optimism.

One thing I missed this year was AISTech 2020, which would have taken place in Cleveland, Ohio. The virus put paid to that (as it did for every live event organised throughout the world), but the guys at AIST won through and one of the key moments of the AISTech live event – the Town Hall Forum – went ahead virtually.

Sitting at home in my sun lounge I logged on and came face-to-face with the US steel industry’s big hitters: David Burritt, president and CEO of US Steel; Lourenco Goncalves, chairman and president of Cleveland-Cliffs; Mark Millet, president and CEO of Steel Dynamics Inc; Dan Needham, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel; and Dave Stickler, CEO of Big River Steel. Jon Delano, money and politics editor, KDKA-TV, was moderating and it felt good to be in front of these guys, none of whom were phased by the pandemic.

“This is all a bit unreal,” said Delano and he wasn’t wrong. “Steelmakers are confronting a new reality,” he added, and they are, we all are, but what was going through the minds of the big guys? Burritt spoke of making great strides forward; Needham said 2020 was the strangest year of all our lives, but spoke of opportunities going forward, Millet said he’d never been more excited for the industry. Stickler said the US steel industry is a healthy place for customers, suppliers and investors.

And when it comes to workforce safety, nothing was left to chance. Millet and Needham spoke of establishing COVID taskforces, Big River Steel ran throughout, giving employees ‘tremendous levels of confidence’. Burritt said the virus had ‘strengthened our resolve’ and went further: “If you’re going to have a heart attack, our first responders will save your life within three minutes.”

We all need positivity, more so now than ever before, so hats off to the Americans.

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2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor, Steel Times International

4 News round-up – the latest global news

8 Innovations – the latest contracts and new products

15 USA Update – Tariffs still top of the agenda

19 Latin America Update – How is Brazil performing?

22 Steel markets – Building steel's future

26 Iron Ore – Iron ore key to Oz port's success

29 Ironmaking – Ultra-low CO2 ironmaking

35 Automation – Safe steelmaking at BSW
37 Ironmaking: DRI for low-emission steel production

40 Ironmaking: COVID takes its toll

42 Furnaces: Avoiding blast furnace disasters

44 Special & stainless steels: The Getty Centre

47 Continuous casting: Controlling surface entrapment

50 Perspectives Q&A: 'We have to stay optimistic'

52 History: Plymouth Ironworks – slow in modernising