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Tata Steel restarts blast furnace in the Netherlands

Tata Steel Netherlands resumed operations at its blast furnace No 6 in IJmuiden early this week after 10 months of downtime, a company spokesperson told Fastmarkets on Wednesday January 31.

Tata Steel’s BF6 was idled late in March 2023 for maintenance work. The restart, however, was postponed several times because of “technical issues.”

“[The relining of BF6] is a large project and has a number of third-party dependencies in terms of services and equipment,” a Tata Steel spokesperson said on October 23. “As a result of certain delays and delivery issues from third parties, we have had to make changes to the schedule of the project.”

The furnace has now been finally reignited, however.

“A few days ago,” the spokesperson said on January 31, “we began the start-up process on BF6. Step by step, we are working toward a full ramp-up in the production of hot pig iron.”

Several sources familiar with the matter said that the BF in IJmuiden was restarted on January 29.

The IJmuiden steelworks can produce 6 million tonnes per year of pig iron from two BFs. BF6 has capacity for 2.5 million tpy of that total volume.

Tata Steel IJmuiden has capacity for 7.5 million tpy of crude steel, according to Fastmarkets’ company information. The site produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled, hot-dipped galvanized and pre-painted coils as well as tin-plated products.

Market concerns
Market sources were worried that, if more steelmaking capacities were brought back online in the first quarter of 2024, this might hamper the fragile uptrend in the EU flat steel market. Prices for flat steel in Europe have been picking up in January, primarily driven by reduced supply resulting from output cuts and some limited restocking activity, although end-user demand remained low.

“The acute price rise [in HRC] is entirely supply-driven,” a source in Northern Europe said.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €760.63 ($824.13) per tonne on January 31, up by €3.75 per tonne from €756.88 per tonne on January 30. The index was also up by €13.96 per tonne week on week and by €65.13 per tonne month on month.

Earlier this month, Salzgitter restarted its BF “A” at Flachstahl in Germany after a four-month outage.

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