Warren coke plant to be idled


WARREN — A Warren coke plant received a plant-closing notice Monday and will be placed on hot idle in July, a union official said.

ArcelorMittal told the United Steelworkers of America that 69 people will be laid off when the plant is idled, said Bill Prejsnar, unit president of Local 1375 at the plant.

He said 57 workers are to remain on the job, but he wondered how long that would last once production is shut down.

ArcelorMittal intends to hot idle the plant, which means the coke ovens will be kept warm with natural gas heat. If the heat is turned off, the bricks in the ovens are likely to collapse.

Prejsnar said he hopes the workers will return when the economy improves.

“They tell us the plant is a valuable asset when the steel market is running, but the steel market is terrible right now,” he said.

The plant has been producing at about 40 percent of capacity, he said.

Two of its biggest customers, an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland and the Severstal mill in Warren, both have temporarily shut down their blast furnaces.

The plant creates coke by baking different types of coal in ovens. Coke, iron ore and limestone are used in blast furnaces at steel mills to create molten iron.

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