The ArcelorMittal Bremen blast furnace, whose production has been reduced to a minimum, is now operating as normal again, a spokesman for the German group ArcelorMittal told Callanish.
Blast furnaces in various European countries were temporarily shut down last fall due to low demand and buying activity, and most have now resumed operations. On the other hand, in most German factories, all operating blast furnaces remained in working order. ArcelorMittal Bremen decided to stop iron production at one blast furnace, but kept it running for power generation.
The fact that no German blast furnace has ever been completely idle may be due to the country's high electricity costs, meaning that mills were trying to maintain on-site power generation from the top gas from their blast furnaces.p>
However, one of the units that was shut down was ArcelorMittal's direct reaction plant in Hamburg, the only one of its kind in Western Europe. While blast furnaces serve a secondary function as electricity generators, the direct reduction plant depends on an external source of electricity and especially gas, which have become too costly to keep the mill running. The plant is also expected to be back online in the first half of the year, "earlier than we planned," a spokesperson says.