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ArcelorMittal to idle blast furnace at Indiana Harbor West

|About: ArcelorMittal (MT)|By:, SA News Editor

ArcelorMittal (MT +1.7%) says it plans to idle a blast furnace at its Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago, Ind., as the U.S. steel industry continues to struggle.

After operating four blast furnaces at Indiana Harbor as recently as 2013, the idling leaves just two remaining blast furnaces at the facility.

Separately, the company's South Africa unit says it will close its steel operations at Saldanha Works because it can no longer compete in export markets.

MT says the process of winding down the operation, which employs 568 workers and produces 1.2M mt/year of steel, will begin immediately and should be completed during Q1 2020.

Finally, Italian Prime Minister Conte says his government would consider reintroducing guarantees of legal immunity for MT only if the company re-commits to a contract to buy the troubled Ilva steel plant.

MT said last week it was pulling out of a deal to acquire the plant, blaming the government's move to scrap immunity from prosecution over environmental damage in the area.

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