This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel ends $1.5B plans to upgrade Mon Valley Works

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This morning in metals news: U.S. Steel announced it is ending plans for $1.5 billion in upgrades to the Mon Valley Works site; the Census Bureau reported construction spending figures for March; and the copper price has heated up once again.

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U.S. Steel ends Mon Valley Works plans

In an open letter posted to the company website Friday, U.S. Steel CEO David B. Burritt announced the steelmaker is ending plans to spend $1.5 billion in plant upgrades for the Mon Valley Works facility.

According to Burritt, the decarbonization efforts included in the upgrades do not go for enough.

“Today is a difficult day,” Burritt said. “U. S. Steel is setting aside this project as we step forward to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. In this world – a world that still needs steel – we need to find aggressive decarbonization solutions. The project we had planned in 2019 would have decreased our carbon footprint, but we must now move farther and faster. Just as steel transformed the world, the world is now transforming steel.”

Burritt emphasized that much has changed in the two years since the company announced plans to upgrade the plant.

“At the onset of the pandemic, U. S. Steel agreed with the need for the County Health Department to temporarily delay its permitting process for the Mon Valley Works, but this delay allowed for a consequential window of time during which we expanded our understanding of steelmaking’s future in a rapidly decarbonizing world,” he added.The world is changing rapidly and we’re on the ten-yard line with 90 yards ahead of us.”

Construction spending rises in March

Meanwhile, US construction spending in March reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,513.1 billion, the Census Bureau reported.

The March rate marked an increase of 0.2% from the previous month. Meanwhile, the rate increased by 5.3% year over year.

Copper price surges to close April

The copper price went on a strong run during the second half of April.

The LME three-month copper price closed Friday at $9,939 per metric ton, surging to a 10-year high. The price has increased by 13% month over month.

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