U.S. Steel to partially shut Ontario mill

Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:58pm EDT
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - United States Steel Corp said on Tuesday it will permanently shut down iron and steelmaking operations at its Hamilton, Ontario, mill at the end of this year.

The integrated mill was idled in 2010, but the steelmaker had not ruled out restarting production if the market improved. Coke-making and steel finishing operations in Hamilton are not affected, said U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone.

The decision is a blow to Hamilton, long the center of Canada's steel industry, which has been hit hard by plant closures over the last decade.

"It is disappointing, very disappointing for both our workers and the community in Hamilton that has a long history of making good steel," said United Steelworkers spokesman Tony DePaulo.

U.S. Steel's mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ontario, were the subject of a legal dispute with the Canadian government over job-protection promises made when the company bought Canadian steelmaker Stelco in 2007.

When the conflict was settled in 2011, a Canadian minister said U.S. Steel had agreed to operate both plants until 2015.

"We are in compliance with our agreement with the Government of Canada," said Boone, who declined to comment further.

A spokeswoman for Minister of Industry James Moore said the shutdown is a business decision.   Continued...

Steam billows from a stack at the U.S. Steel Canada plant in Hamilton in this file photo taken March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese/Files