Local steelmaker resumes mill improvements

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — SeverStal North America Inc. last week announced it soon would resume a modernization initiative at its south end factory.

The project was put on hold in the wake of the unprecedented fall in steel demand and pricing in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“While we remain cautious about the market outlook, we are encouraged that the more positive trends we saw towards the end of last year are being sustained,” said Sergei A. Kuznetsov, the company’s chief executive officer.

“These projects are critical to furthering SeverStal North America’s leadership position in the production of innovative, high-quality light flat rolled products and strengthening our commitment to the North American steel market.”

The improvements represent roughly $1 billion in investment and are centered on the coupled pickle line and tandem cold rolling mill and hot dip coating line. The measures are targeted at factory elements used largely for the production of automotive parts, which has experienced growing demand in recent months as car sales begin to rebound.

When the improvements are complete, the Dearborn facility will increase its total output of cold-rolled steel from 1.65 million tons to 2.1 million tons per year and give SeverStal three of the seven combined pickling/tandem mills that exist in North America, according to the company.

SeverStal North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian steelmaker SeverStal OAO and is based in the former Rouge Steel complex, which the company acquired in 2004.