Steel plant closing in March

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By Damon Lawrence

Dozens of Roane Countians will soon find themselves out of work due to ArcelorMittal’s decision to close its facility in Harriman by March 31.

The facility’s high cost of production and limits in its steelmaking led to the decision, ArcelorMittal said.  

“ArcelorMittal has notified employees, the United Steelworkers and other required stakeholders of the closure in accordance with the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act,” ArcelorMittal said in a statement. “The decision to close ArcelorMittal Harriman is purely an economic business decision based on the challenging market conditions we face today.”

Due to its lack of steelmaking capacity, ArcelorMittal said the Harriman facility receives semi-finished billets from its sister facility, ArcelorMittal LaPlace in LaPlace, La.

“The cost of transporting the billets from Louisiana to Tennessee adds to the cost of all products produced at Harriman,” ArcelorMittal said. “ArcelorMittal Harriman is also disadvantaged as it does
not have direct access to the U.S. inland waterway system like ArcelorMittal LaPlace.”

Seventy-two workers will be affected by the shutdown.