U.S. Steel Idles Half of Capacity on Ice Delays, Accident

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s largest producer of the metal, idled half of its domestic capacity after an accident at a Michigan plant while unusually icy conditions on Lake Michigan delayed raw-material shipments to another facility.

U.S. Steel idled its Gary Works in Indiana, its largest plant, because of the ice, the company said in an April 2 letter to customers that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Great Lakes saw 91 percent ice cover in early March, the second-highest level on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “These severe ice conditions have not occurred on the Great Lakes for more than three decades,” U.S. Steel said in the letter.

The three blast furnaces at the company’s Great Lakes plant in Ecorse, Michigan, are down after a March 27 roof collapse, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel said in an e-mailed statement. A contract worker operating a crane at the site of the collapse at the plant’s No. 2 basic oxygen furnace died in an accident today, the company said in the statement.

Gary has 7.5 million tons of annual steelmaking capacity while the Michigan plant has 3.8 million tons, according to a company filing. U.S. Steel’s domestic capacity is 22 million tons. The company’s U.S. mills produced 17.9 million tons in 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Jasmina Kelemen