In an effort to become more competitive and produce more durable high-tech steels, Hamilton, Ont.’s ArcelorMittal Dofasco has a $151-million upgrade of its hot mill operation underway.
The project is partly being fuelled by $22.7 million in provincial funding from the government’s Job and Prosperity Fund — $15.2 million as a grant and $7.5 million as a loan.
Coined the Dofasco Hot Mill — Coiler Modernization Project, it is essentially an upgrade of the mill that converts all the steel slabs produced by the company into coils.
“The scope of the upgrade includes two new state-of-the-art coilers, runout tables and a strip cooling system with power cooling technology,” said Hamza Habbal, ArcelorMittal Dofasco general manager of finishing, technology.
The project is being carried out to meet the objectives of replacing three existing end-of-life coilers, he stated.
Benefits of this are said to be improved safety, increased product capability to produce higher value products and cost savings through improvements to coil quality, yield and energy efficiency, the company explained.
“This hot mill modernization work supports continued expansion of our product capability to meet demanding applications including automotive,” said Habbal, adding there is pressure from the automotive sector to have the materials to develop lighter vehicles that will meet the fuel efficiency standards of the near future.
Completion of the work is expected in 2020.
Ontario’s partnership with ArcelorMittal Dofasco is a combined effort to support stability in the steel industry, maintain low costs for the North American market and keep 4,700 jobs in Hamilton, explains a release.
“This support for ArcelorMIttal Dofasco will keep good jobs in Ontario, help grow our economy and make sure Hamilton stays as strong as steel. We think it’s crucial that Ontario companies have the support they need to stay competitive and we’ll continue to do everything we can to support them and their workers,” said Steven Del Duca, minister of economic development and growth, in a statement.
According to the ministry, the investment will support Ontario’s steel supply chain and broader manufacturing sector, in particular Ontario’s 400-kilometre automotive corridor with direct impacts on five auto assemblers and over 1,200 auto parts suppliers and tool and die makers. The North American automotive market accounts for a significant share of Dofasco’s sales.
It continues with more than 70 per cent of Canada’s steel production capacity being located in Ontario. This results in the direct employment of 16,000 people and the indirect employment of another 53,000.
Also stated is that Hamilton is an important steel cluster and globally recognized research and development and commercialization hub focused on steel products supporting thousands of high paying manufacturing jobs as well as the local economy.
“This investment will go a long way to ensuring that great jobs stay here and that Hamilton steel will reach more consumers in more places in North America,” said Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale when the announcement was made at the company’s headquarters on Burlington Street East.