* Blast furnace annual capacity is 2.4 million tonnes
* Says new tariffs, labor agreement should reduce costs
Jan 9 ArcelorMittal, the world's
largest steelmaker, will restart blast furnace B at its Gijón
plant in Spain on Jan. 15 after a six-month shutdown for
maintenance works amid weak market conditions, the company said
The steelmaker said the decision to restart the furnace was
prompted by a recent agreement on tariffs reached with the port
of Gijón, expectations of new electricity tariffs, and an
agreement with unions that introduces more flexible labor
conditions and a labor cost reduction.
"All these measures have contributed to reinforcing the
competitiveness of the products manufactured by the Spanish
units of the company, improving their ability to access export
markets in a context marked by a drop of more than 25 percent in
steel consumption in southern Europe, a situation which is
further aggravated in Spain by the collapse of the construction
sector and severe decline in private consumption," the steel
producer said in a statement.
Blast furnace B at the Gijón plant has annual production
capacity of 2.4 million tonnes of steel.
Earlier Wednesday, Luxemburg-based ArcelorMittal said it
would also restart a blast furnace in northern France later this
month in response to a slight increase in steel demand in Europe
due to restocking among customers.
ArcelorMittal employees 11,000 workers in Spain.