Explosion rocks ArcelorMittal’s blast furnace plant

An explosion rocked the integrated steelmaker ArcelorMittal steel plant in Burns Harbor, Indiana, on Thursday morning, igniting a fire and causing damage to blast stove equipment near a blast furnace, officials said.

The company confirmed that a blast stove dome failed, causing a fire at blast furnace D at Burns Harbor and forcing ArcelorMittal to take the blast furnace down. The D blast furnace has a steelmaking capacity of 2.48 million metric tons (t)/yr.

Videos posted to Facebook shows an explosion sending molten material out of the building before setting it ablaze. No employees were injured or killed.

The company is assessing required repairs and does not expect an impact on its ability to supply its customers.

The unexpected closure of furnace D comes months after ArcelorMittal idled blast furnace C at Burns Harbor, the other 2.48mn t/yr steelmaking facility at the mill.

ArcelorMittal shut down the C blast furnace and two other blast furnaces, one each at its Cleveland and Indiana Harbor mills, after US automakers and other manufacturers shuttered much of their operations in March in the face of Covid-19-related shutdowns. The three idled blast furnaces total at least 7.5 million t/yr of steelmaking capacity.

Watch youtube video of the explosion aftermath: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdWlXC58-pE

Burns Harbor

ArcelorMittal’s second largest USA facility, Burns Harbor, is a fully integrated steelmaking facility located on Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana, 50 miles southeast of Chicago. 

The location allows for prime shipping access to the Port of Indiana, as well as excellent highway and railroad transport.

The plant operates two blast furnaces and is capable of producing five million tons of raw steel annually. Burns Harbor primarily serves the automotive industry.

Other key markets include appliance, automotive, construction, converters, distribution and pipe and tube. Principal products made at this location are hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled sheet, hot-dipped galvanized sheet

Burns Harbor is the only steelmaking facility in the U.S. that is bordered on two sides by a national park.

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