In the fiscal year ending 31 March 2009, Essar Steel Algoma produced in excess of 2.4 million tonnes of steel, had sales of $2 billion CDN ($2.5 billion US) and employed about 3400 people. However, the steel industry was hard hit by the economic downturn of 2009 and the resultant decrease in the demand for steel. The company suffered losses of $330.5 million US between March and 31 December 2009, compared to profits of $220.8 million US in the same period of 2008. By the end of the fiscal year ending 31 March 2010, the country's economic recovery had not fully reached the steel industry and Essar Steel Algoma reported a net loss of $398.9 million US. Shipments were down 14% over the preceding fiscal year.
Algoma's No. 7 blast furnace (over 5000 t/d) converts IRON ORE into impure liquid iron, and this iron is fed, along with scrap, into two BOPs (basic oxygen process) that convert the iron and scrap into liquid steel. Two continuous-casting machines then solidify the liquid steel into slabs and bloom profiles.
A 166-inch (422-cm) plate mill rolls the cast slabs into plate of up to 3860 mm. An in-plant heat-treating facility normalizes, quenches (hardens) and tempers the as-rolled plate to improve plate properties (strength, abrasion resistance). Plate is used in SHIPBUILDING and CONSTRUCTION. This plate mill also produces wide-flange shapes from bloom profiles.
Algoma's 106-inch (269-cm), six-stand, hot-strip mill rolls low-carbon steel slabs into hot-rolled strip in widths of up to 96 inches (244 cm), some of the widest strip produced in North America.
In 1997 Algoma began operation of its new Direct Strip Production Complex, one of the most modern in the world and the centrepiece of the company's operations today. The facility's hot- and cold-rolled strips are widely used in the AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY.
Algoma has two tube mills that produce seamless tube. Also, it has a high-volume continuous structural mill for the production of welded-steel shapes to supplement its rolled shapes range.
See also IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRY.
Author JOHN C. MCKAY
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Essar Steel Algoma Inc.
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