The COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on the Metals & Minerals Industry, but steel producers are benefiting from growing demand for materials used in cars, appliances and machinery, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. With its capacity utilization improving from 51% in May 2020 to more than 73% just recently, the steel sector no doubt will look to proper maintenance to keep its facilities in their best condition. Industrial Info is tracking nearly 400 maintenance-related projects at related facilities across the U.S. that are set to kick off before the end of March, covering sectors from steel production to cement manufacturing.

The steel-manufacturing sector leads all others in total first-quarter maintenance spending, with the bulk of the investment coming from two companies: Cleveland-Cliffs Incorporated (NYSE:CLF) (Cleveland, Ohio), along with subsidiaries AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA, both of which were acquired in early 2020; and United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) (U.S. Steel) (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). ArcelorMittal is looking at a trio of major maintenance programs at its steel works plant in Burns Harbor, Indiana: the steel works complex, which produces 5 million tons per year, and its boiler; and the coke plant, which produces 1.75 million tons per year. For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on the steel works complex, boiler; and coke plant.

Cleveland-Cliffs' AK Steel subsidiary is preparing for maintenance at its steel works plant in Middletown, Ohio, which produces 2.7 million tons per year, and its coke plant, as well as its coke plant in Warren, Ohio. Cleveland-Cliffs has seen steady improvement in recent months from a rough period when demand for a variety of products was pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably in the automotive industry, which is its main market. For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on the Middletown steel works complex, its coke plant; and the Warren coke plant.

U.S. Steel is preparing for maintenance at its flagship steel works plant in Gary, Indiana, which produces 7.5 million tons per year, as well as three facilities across Pennsylvania's Monongahela Valley: Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, which produces 2.6 million tons per year; a coke plant in Clairton, which produces 4.3 million tons per year; and the Irvin Steel Plant in West Mifflin, which produces 2.9 million tons per year. The company also recently sold off its Keystone Industrial Port Complex in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, for $160 million after it had been gradually reducing its presence at the site for many years. For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on the Gary, Edgar Thomson, Clairton and Irvin projects.

Although it lags the steel-processing sector in total investment value, the metal rolling, processing, finishing and fabrication segment accounts for more individual maintenance projects than any other sector. Three of those are attributed to Novelis Incorporated (Atlanta, Georgia), an aluminum products firm that is performing normal inspections and repairs at three facilities across the eastern U.S.: a rolling mill in Terre Haute, Indiana; a sheet and foil plant in Warren, Ohio; and a coil and can stock mill in New York.

Novelis, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group (Mumbai, India), has taken a big hit in its bottom line as aluminum prices have collapsed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the company said its total flat-rolled product shipments were up 19% in its most recently ended quarter, when compared with the same quarter in 2019, with much of the demand coming from North America's recovering automotive, building and construction markets. For more information on its maintenance projects, see Industrial Info's reports on the Indiana, Ohio and New York facilities.

Click here for a full list of first-quarter maintenance projects at facilities in the U.S. Metals & Minerals Industry, according to Industrial Info's project database.

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