Bidder has old-fashioned hopes for U.S. Steel Canada – by Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – April 4, 2016)

One of the bidders for the assets of U.S. Steel Canada Inc. is proposing to revive the steel industry model of 19th-century tycoon Andrew Carnegie and establish a fully integrated steel maker in Canada that would also own iron ore and coal mines.

Tom Clarke, a Virginia-based environmentalist and health care executive, said he is bidding for U.S. Steel Canada and the Wabush iron mine in Labrador. The bid is being made through his ERP Compliant Fuels LLC, which already owns coal mines in West Virginia.

The Globe and Mail reported last Friday that ERP Compliant is one of the bidders for Essar Steel Algoma Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but Mr. Clarke said he is less interested in Essar Algoma than he is in U.S. Steel Canada.

The two companies are operating under protection of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The Wabush mine is also in CCAA protection, but has not produced any iron ore since November, 2014. The mine was sold by Stelco Inc. in 2007 before United States Steel Corp. bought the Hamilton-based steel maker.

Mr. Clarke said he believes U.S. Steel Canada has a bright future because of events that are reshaping the steel industry back to more regional markets from a global market in which prices have been affected by the boom in the Chinese economy and its impact on steel demand.

“We are a believer that the China phenomenon is cyclical,” Mr. Clarke said in an interview. Instead of China flooding global markets with low-priced steel, regional markets will grow again, he said.

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