Biden vows to shield US steel industry by blocking Japanese merger and seeking new Chinese tariffs – by Chris Megerian and Will Weissert (Associated Press – April 16, 2024)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — President Joe Biden suggested to cheering, unionized steelworkers on Wednesday that his administration would thwart the acquisition of U.S. Steel by a Japanese company, and he called for a tripling of tariffs on Chinese steel, seeking to use trade policy to win over working-class votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

The Democratic president’s pitch comes as Donald Trump, his likely Republican opponent, tries to chart a path back to the White House with tough-on-China rhetoric and steep tariff proposals of his own.

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Cleveland Cliffs gets part of $6 billion funding to slash emissions in industrial facilities – by Rick McCrabb (Dayton Daily News/Associated Press – March 25, 2024)

Middletown steel plant among projects that will slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

MIDDLETOWN — Cleveland-Cliffs Middletown Works is expected to receive a major investment up to $500 million to overhaul the ironmaking systems and install a new environmentally friendly system.

The 100% hydrogen-ready, flex-fuel direct reduction plant will be directly coupled to two electric melting furnaces to produce iron with nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) office.

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Biden opposes plan to sell US Steel to a Japanese firm, citing the need for ‘American steel workers’ – by Josh Boak (Associated Press – March 14, 2024)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden came out in opposition to the planned sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel of Japan, saying on Thursday that the U.S. needs to “maintain strong American steel companies powered by American steel workers.”

In a statement, Biden added: “U.S. Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.”

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Japan’s Nippon Steel to buy U.S. Steel in a $14.9 billion deal ( – December 18, 2023)

Japan’s Nippon Steel clinched a deal on Monday to buy U.S. Steel for $14.9 billion in cash, prevailing in an auction for the 122-year-old iconic steelmaker over rivals including Cleveland-Cliffs and ArcelorMittal.

The deal price of $55 per share represents a whopping 142% premium to Aug. 11, the last trading day before Cleveland-Cliffs unveiled a $35-per-share, cash-and-stock bid for U.S. Steel. It is a bet that U.S. Steel will benefit from the spending and tax incentives in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.

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Amid steel industry turmoil, future of tiny turnaround star Stelco is up in the air – by Davil Olive (Toronto Star – October 7, 2023)

Unconfirmed reports say Stelco may be eyeing an audacious takeover of some parts of U.S. Steel. More likely though, writes David Olive, Canada’s biggest steelmaker may become a takeover target.

Six years into his impressive turnaround of Stelco Holdings Inc., CEO Alan Kestenbaum has transformed the company into one of the lowest-cost, highest-margin steelmakers on the continent. But Kestenbaum has fallen short of a goal he set back in 2017 when he bought the 113-year-old Stelco out of bankruptcy. At that time, he hoped to boost Stelco’s revenues to as much as $8 billion.

With 2022 sales of $3.5 billion, Canada’s biggest steelmaker remains one of the continent’s smaller producers. It still lacks the economies of scale to withstand industry disruptions as easily as its bigger U.S. rivals.

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OBITUARY: Canadian visionary Gerald Heffernan introduced less-polluting mini-mills for steel production – by Fred Langan (Globe and Mail – September 2, 2023)

Gerald Heffernan, who died in Toronto on July 28 at the age of 104, was an innovative engineer who pioneered steel mini-mills, first in Alberta at the start of the oil boom, then in Ontario. He was as much a scientist as a businessman and was recognized around the world as a leader in creating smaller, less-polluting steel mills.

A mini-mill can make specialized steel products more cheaply than a giant smelter, and it uses scrap metal, making it a form of recycling. “He figured out a way of not having these giant mills but smaller ones that were more efficient and could be placed in different places,” said Alan Bernstein, the past president of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) a group Mr. Heffernan helped found and worked with for a great part of his life.

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The Stainless-Steel Boom Is Tearing a South African Mining Region Apart – by Kimon de Greef (Bloomberg News – July 24, 2023)

Areas with massive chrome ore deposits have become scarred, dystopian free-for-alls.

Twenty-five years ago, to get to school in the morning, Godfrey Molwana would walk 2 miles from his home in Witrandjie, a small village in South Africa. His route passed through communal grazing lands for cattle and goats—a rolling expanse of acacia trees and hardy shrubs, interspersed with the corn plots of subsistence farmers. Some families had graves on the land. “This area was for everyone,” Molwana recalled.

Close to the village lay the remains of a chrome mine, with derelict buildings and dumps of discarded ore where children from the community would play. Chrome is essential for manufacturing stainless steel. South Africa has the largest deposits in the world, but this mine, no longer profitable, had been shuttered for decades. Some older men in the community had worked there as laborers, earning the low wages designated for Black people during apartheid.

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There is more than one way to make green steel: Why electricity may be better than hydrogen (The Economist – May 31, 2023)

Steelmakers around the world hope to decarbonise by changing the way they pluck oxygen from iron-oxide ores. This is done using either carbon monoxide (CO) derived indirectly from coke in a blast furnace, or by “direct reduction” with syngas, a mixture of CO and hydrogen.

Both create carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. As a consequence, steelmaking is reckoned responsible for about 9% of man-made greenhouse-gas emissions. A widespread aspiration is thus to introduce direct reduction by hydrogen alone. The only by-product of such a reaction would be water (or rather, steam).

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Canada bans Russian steel, aluminum imports as Joly raises ‘regime change’ in Moscow – by Dylan Robertson (CBC News/Canadian Press – March 10, 2023)

Canada is banning imports of Russian steel and aluminum as part of its sanctions regime, as Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly raises the possibility of regime change in Moscow. Joly made the remarks at a Friday press conference where she discussed the importance of maintaining a diplomatic presence in Moscow.

“We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now — because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically — and what are the impacts also on society and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia,” she said.

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Global collaboration essential to realise $1.4tr iron, steel decarbonisation investment – by Marleny Arnoldi (Mining Weekly – September 15, 2022)

To meet 2050 climate goals, the global iron and steel industry will require $1.4-trillion of investment across the value chain, from mining to steelmaking, estimates research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac).

A research report, titled ‘Pedal to the metal: iron and steel’s $1.4-trillion shot at decarbonisation’, published by WoodMac states that iron and steel emit 3.4-billion tonnes of carbon a year combined, equal to 7% of global emissions. This while steel demand growth is not slowing down, and is estimated to reach 2.2-billion tonnes a year by 2050 – 15% higher than the demand for steel in 2021.

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Electric vehicle industry prizes steel over aluminum, Cleveland-Cliffs CEO says – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – August 22, 2022)

A Detroit automaker and US steel producer sparred at an industry gathering this week on whether steel or aluminum is the preferred metal for electric-vehicle bodies.

The top executive of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., the second largest US steelmaker, said that EV companies were preferring steel over aluminum. But an executive director from General Motors Co., the biggest US automaker, said there’s no broad brush.

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Last Stelco blast furnace demolished on Hamilton bayfront – by Matthew Van Dongen (Toronto Star – August 17, 2022)

The towering structure was felled by a controlled explosion just after 9 a.m.

Goodbye Big “E” — it was a blast. The last Stelco blast furnace in Hamilton was demolished Wednesday using a controlled explosion that cut out the supports under the towering steelmaking relic that dominated the western bayfront skyline for more than half a century.

A massive boom that echoed around the harbour was followed by a slow collapse of the roughly 200-foot-tall “E” blast furnace built in 1968 on Pier 16.

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Biggest construction project in Sault’s history is now underway – by David Helwig (Northern Ontario Business – August 8, 2022)

Algoma Steel has already sunk $103 million into its $703-million electric-arc furnace facility. New buildings will start to rise either late next month or in October

Algoma Steel Inc. has already spent more than $100 million on a two-year, game-changing technology upgrade that local building officials say will be the most expensive construction job in Sault Ste. Marie’s history.

The massive project, expected to cost $703 million, will replace Algoma’s existing blast furnace and basic oxygen steelmaking processes with two new electric arc furnaces (EAFs), allowing 3.7 million tons in annual raw steel production with something like a 70 per cent reduction in annual carbon dioxide emissions.

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With 4,000 Staff in Bunkers, Mariupol’s Steel Mills Are a War Zone – by Marc Champion and Daryna Krasnolutska (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — In normal times, Metinvest Holding LLC is all about making and selling steel. But these are not normal times inside Ukraine.

On Saturday, Chief Executive Officer Yuriy Ryzhenkov was focused on yet another attempt to get humanitarian aid into the eastern port city of Mariupol, which has been besieged for weeks by Russian shelling. A convoy of aid trucks and empty buses had just left his company’s steel plant in Zaporizhzhia on the 460 km (285 mile) round trip.

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Ford government eyes ‘green steel’ as way to catch up on cutting carbon emissions – by Mike Crawley (CBC News Toronto – February 17,2022)

Ontario’s steel industry is aiming for a dramatic reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions, a move that will help Premier Doug Ford’s government get closer to achieving its climate-change targets.

The three biggest industrial emitters of CO2 in Ontario are all steel plants. Steel production alone accounts for more than 40 per cent of all industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province, more than the refinery, forestry, mining and chemical sectors combined.

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