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)
466 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1978-79 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 export- 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 emissions. DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 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 producing 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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