A local steelmaker has been recognized for an ongoing environmental initiative that has helped restore wetlands and control native species in Northwest Indiana.
ArcelorMittal, whose local operations include mills in East Chicago and Burns Harbor, won two "Steelie" awards at a recent international conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The annual World Steel Association awards recognize steelmakers for achievements, such as in cost savings, reliability benchmarking and product development.
The Luxembourg-based steelmaker won Innovation of the Year for an automated steelmaking process it developed for a basic oxygen furnace in Canada, and an Excellence in Sustainability Award for its Sustain our Great Lakes program. The public-private partnership aims to protect fish, wildlife and habitat around the Great Lakes, including in the Calumet Region.
ArcelorMittal partners with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies on the initiative. In the last three years, the program has awarded more than $380,000 to environmental efforts in Northwest Indiana.
Last year, the Indiana Department of Natural Resource received a $121,000 grant through the program that enabled it to control invasive species and restore 92 acres of wetlands along the Grand Calumet River, which cuts through North Lake County before flowing into Lake Michigan.
Overall, the project has restored more than 37,700 acres of wetland, coastal and upland habitat in the Great Lakes basin since it started in 2006.
An expert panel selected the award winners, from nominees that were picked by World Steel Association members. The international industry association represents 170 steel manufacturers, who account for about 85 percent of the word's steel production.
ArcelorMittal is the world's largest steelmaker, and also one of the largest iron ore producers in the world with 16 mines now in operation or development around the world. Locally, the company has operations in Burns Harbor, East Chicago, Gary, Riverdale and New Carlisle, as well as its North American headquarters in Chicago.