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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Desy, D. H.
Iron and steel,   pp. 465-484 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 466

comprehensive program for the steel industry, the Government instituted a
system of trigger prices below which imports of steel products would automatically
trigger an antidumping investigation. The system became effective on February
21, 1978, but imports for which the prices had been set by contract before
the trigger price system went into effect were exempt until after April 30,
1978. Trigger prices were based on the production costs of Japanese steel
producers, and included transportation and other importation charges. Trigger
prices were revised each quarter, and were administered by the Department
of the Treasury through 1979 and were to be administered by the Department
of the Commerce beginning in 1980. 
Under another part of the program for the steel industry, the Economic Development
Administration (EDA) of the Department of Commerce, set aside $100 million,
which could be used to guarantee loans of up to $550 million to medium-size
steel companies for modernization, including installation of pollution control
equipment. Under this program, EDA granted loan guarantees totaling approximately
$370 million to six steel companies through 1979. 
In 1979 the Department of the Treasury determined that 16 Brazilian firms
ing pig iron to the United States received government subsidies. The case
was referred to the U.S. International Trade Commission for a determination
of whether the domestic industry was injured by these imports. 
 Workers who were laid off from the steel industry as a result of import
competition were certified as eligible to apply for trade adjustment assistance
by the Department of Labor. About 109,900 workers were certified eligible
from the beginning of the program in 1975 through December 31, 1979. 
 The Department of the Treasury reduced the minimum depreciation time for
steel industry plant and equipment from 14 1/2 to 12 years, and for iron
and steel foundries from 14 1/2 to 11 years, effective for property placed
in service on or after August 17, 1979. 
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a regulation' limiting
the opacity of stack emissions from basic oxygen furnaces to 10% except that
an opacity of up to 20% would be permissible once during each steelmaking
cycle. The regulation became effective April 13, 1978, and applied to furnaces
constructed or modified after June 11, 1973. Opacity is a measure of particulate
 Steel production and shipments in the first quarter of 1978 were adversely
affected by a coal miners' strike and severe winter weather. However, improved
weather and termination of the strike in March 1978 prevented the first quarter
totals from falling as low as expected. Deliveries of steel were hampered
in the fourth quarter of 1978 by a strike of the Fraternal Association of
Steel Haulers, which lasted for 71 days and ended on January 18, 1979. 
 In spite of these disruptions, steel production and shipments increased
in 1978 over those of 1977. The industry produced 9.3% more raw steel and
shipped 7.5% more finished steel in 1978 than it did in 1977. In 1979, raw
steel production and shipments of finished steel were little changed from
those of 1978. Heavy snow and low temperatures in January 1979 disrupted
steel production and deliveries primarily in the Chicago area. Steel deliveries
were affected by a 10-day general Teamsters' Union strike that began on April
1, 1979, and a continuation of the strike by the Teamster-affiliated steel
haulers that lasted through the month of April. 
 Two new blast furnaces went into operation during 1978. Bethlehem Steel
Corp.'s "L" furnace at the Sparrow's Point, Md~, plant, which began
iron in November 1978, is the largest blast furnace in the Western Hemisphere.
It has a hearth diameter of 44.5 feet and a rated daily capacity of 8,000
tons of hot metal. It is expected to replace four older furnaces. The new
blast furnace at United States Steel Corp.'s Fairfield, Ala., works, with
a hearth diameter of 32 feet and a rated capacity of 5,000 tons per day,
became operational in December 1978. Both furnaces utilize conveyor belt
feed, have bell-less tops, and are computer controlled. In 1978, new coke
oven facilities came into operation at United States Steel's Fairfield, Ala.,
plant and at Inland Steel Co.'s Indiana Harbor Works. The Fairfield plant,
which consists of 57 ovens, 6.1 meters high with a total annual capacity
of 900,000 tons, started operation in October. Inland's No. 11 coke oven
battery began operation in September 1978 and consists of 69 ovens, 6 meters
high, with a total annual capacity of 875,000 tons. It will provide coke
for a new large blast furnace 

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