GARY | A blast furnace at the nation's largest steel mill is back online after repairs were made.
A U.S. Steel spokesman said the No. 8 Blast Furnace at Gary Works has resumed production after an unplanned outage. Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region rebounded by 17,000 tons last week after dropping off sharply during the outage.
An June 1 incident disrupted the operation of the furnace, which can produce up to 3,300 tons of pig iron per day, according to the American Institute for Steel Technology. The furnace is the smallest at the mill that stretches for seven miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The largest blast furnace in the western hemisphere, which is also located in Northwest Indiana, remains down. The No. 7 Blast Furnace at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor East, formerly Inland Steel, has been idled for a maintenance project that is expected to last through July.
The 34-year-old furnace can produce up to 11,5000 tons of raw steel a day and was last relined in 2003. Steelworkers at the mill have been doing repair and maintenance work, making safety improvements and receiving training.
Industry sources estimate ArcelorMittal is investing $65 million in the project, which the company said is essential to meeting future customer demand.