Quake halts production at Japanese steelmakers

Reuters is reporting that FE Steel, the world’s No 5 steelmaker, on Monday halted production at a plant near Tokyo and global fourth-ranked Nippon Steel suspended operations at two small plants:

– JFE said shipments from its 10 million tonnes per year Higashi Nihon plant near Tokyo had virtually halted due to a power outage.

– JFE resumed operations on Sunday of two blast furnaces at its Higashi Nihon plant, one of its two mainstay plants, which were idled after Friday’s quake and tsunami.

– Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd, Japan’s No 3 steelmaker, said production at its main Kashima plant in Ibaraki prefecture remained suspended.

– Sumitomo Metal’s main Kashima plant had a fire in a gas holder, which had been extinguished but the company did not know yet when the plant would resume operations. Sumitomo Metal has a total capacity of 14 million tonnes a year and the Kashima plant produces 8.3 million tonnes.

– Global fourth-ranked Nippon Steel’s main Kimitsu plant in Tokyo, with a capacity of 10 million tonnes and three blast furnaces had resumed operations on Sunday. Nippon Steel’s total production capacity stands at about 33 million tonnes a year.

– But the tsunami hit Nippon’s small Kamaishi plant which is not operating. It produces 60,000 tonnes a month of downstream steel products. The company also briefly shut a small seamless steel plant in Tokyo on Monday due to power outage.

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