The mothballing of hot metal production at ArcelorMittal’s Florange plant in Northern France is scheduled to begin in late April to May and should be completed by the end of June 2013. Mothballing includes the stoppage of the hot stoves, as well as stopping steelmaking while securing the plant’s on-going potential to restart.
The mothballing is compatible with the agreement reached with the French government.
206 of the 629 employees impacted by the mothballing of Florange’s liquid phase have already left the company, the majority of them having retired. A total of 301 people have been moved to activities other than the liquid phase and 122 are still assigned to the liquid phase. Solutions for each of them will have to be found through negotiations with the employees’ representatives.
The social aspect of ArcelorMittal Atlantique and Lorraine’s industrial and commercial project will be implemented on a voluntary basis, without layoffs.
Florange’s hot and cold rolling mills and its tinning line remain in operation and will be used to their full capacities by reorganising packaging steel production activities to develop synergies between Florenge and the Basse-Indre sites by developing production specialisations at both plants.
Basse-Indre’s operates two tinning lines which will be used to full capacity as well as those at Florenge.
All employees affected by the temporary idling of Basse-Indre’s pickling and rolling mills will be redeployed in the downstream lines. Therefore, the plant’s workforce will remain stable.
As part of its commitment, ArcelorMittal has launched a €180M investment programme for the Florange plant. This investment has already begun, with €55M invested to ensure the viability of the coke plant and sustain the development plan for high width Usibor®. Florange is now the only plant in the world capable of producing high-strength Usibor® and Alusi®, in wide strip giving the site a greater advantage within the automotive market.
R&D for reduced CO2 emissions
One of the Florange blast furnaces was to have been converted to a demonstration plant for commercial proving of blast furnace top gas recycling (TGR) developed by the ULCOS consortium. Despite the cancellation or postponement of this implementation ArcelorMittal reaffirms its commitment to contribute up to €13M towards financing of a research programme into CO2 reduction. A detailed industrial roadmap, established in coordination with the French government, will be submitted at the next ‘Commission de suivi’ on April 22, 2013.
With the closure of hot metal production at Florange, the concentration of slab casting at Dunkerque has already reduced the cost of production and improved competitiveness, vital in the current challenging environment.
ArcelorMittal stands by the industrial and economic logic of its project for ArcelorMittal Atlantique and Lorraine, as it addresses the structural overcapacity of slab production in Europe. ArcelorMittal’s current production capacity in Europe, including the improved utilisation of existing operations, is sufficient to meet medium-term steel demand. Even if demand increases by 3% a year from 2014 onwards, by 2018 it will still be around 15% below 2007 levels.