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There's More Pain to Come for Europe's Wounded Steelmakers

  • Slump leaves 30% of EU capacity unused on record China exports
  • Industry group expects more furnaces to close as losses mount
An employee looks on as a ladle is emptied under normal operating conditions at the Celsa Steel UK Ltd. steel mill plant in Cardiff, U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Iron ore will extend declines into 2016 as weakening steel output hurts demand while the world's biggest suppliers raise production further, according to a former chief economist at Rio Tinto Group, who said China would do well to demolish unneeded mills.
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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The fate of some huge blast furnaces in the Belgian city of Liege a few years ago may offer clues to where the rest of Europe’s beleaguered steel-making industry is headed -- more doom and gloom.

Known for its bike race and meatballs, Liege was home to a steel mill owned by ArcelorMittal, the world’s top producer. While the city had been a metal-making hub since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the aging plant was too far from raw materials and spread out along miles of the Meuse River, making it uncompetitive after the global financial crisis sapped demand. In 2013, ArcelorMittal tired of losses and shut much of the facility.