Steel giant ArcelorMittal has been forced to temporarily suspend steelmaking activities at its Point Lisas facility in Trinidad and Tobago. The company cites falling commodity prices and waning market demand for products as the key reasons behind the shutdown.
According to company statement issued by ArcelorMittal, several adverse factors have led to the temporary closure of the mill. First and foremost among them is the oversupplied market condition. Secondly, orders for its Directed Reduced Iron (DRI) and steel products produced at the Point Lisas plant have witnessed sharp decline recently. This had forced the company to gradually reduce steel mill activities over the past several months.
After a meeting with the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT) last Friday, the company officials had declared that it is impossible for them to keep the workers on plant without having work. On Monday, the company laid off 600 out of around 2,000 workers at the plant. It is unknown as to when these workers will be able to return to work. It must be noted that ArcelorMittal has laid off workers at other plants across the world on plunging commodity prices.
The Point Lisas facility mainly produces hot briquetted iron (HBI). The plant has a production capacity of nearly 550,000 mt of HBI per annum. The operating cost of these products is significantly higher when compared with international export prices, the company noted. In addition to HBI, the facility also produces billet and wire rod coils.
Meantime, the workers union has called upon the government officials to intervene in the crisis situation.
The Point Lisas facility has three production facilities and a modern marine port terminal. The site is the largest non-energy manufacturer on the island
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