U.S. Steel says it’s closing the remaining coke-making plant at its Gary Works facility in Northwest Indiana.
The closing means the loss of jobs for 300 workers in some of the highest paying roles. There’s a chance a small number may be offered a transfer to another facility, the others would be laid off.
The sprawling Gary Works facility once operated three coke plants. The process uses very high temperatures to convert crushed coal into the fuel used in a blast furnace to produce iron. The plant produced about 593,000 tons over the last two years, according to the Northwest Indiana Times.
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Producing coke can be an environmental nightmare, and over the years U.S. Steel has been hit with bills for millions of dollars to do cleanup. In 2012, the company spent $1.2 billion dollars to upgrade the Clairton Coke Works with more efficient and environmentally-friendly equipment. The Clairton plant, outside of Pittsburgh, is the largest coke-manufacturing facility in the United States.
U.S. Steel has been making cuts all around. It says the Gary coke plants are out of date and cost too much to run, and it has to get costs in line to manage slow times better.
The 300 jobs cut add to the already 369 coming in March when U.S. Steel shutters East Chicago Tin. Another 176 will soon be out of work when Granite City Works in Southern Illinois closes later this year.