arcelormittal building
ArcelorMittal expects to spend some $1.95 billion to convert blast furnace production in France to electric arc furnace (EAF) technology.
Photo courtesy of ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal commits to EAF production in France

Steelmaker will invest in two electric arc furnace sites and a DRI plant in France.

February 7, 2022

Luxembourg-based steel producer ArcelorMittal has announced it will invest 1.7 billion euros ($1.95 billion) in Fos-sur-Mer and Dunkirk, France, to install electric arc furnaces (EAFs) in both cities and an accompanying direct reduced iron (DRI) plant in Dunkirk.

The company cites a reduction in CO2 emissions as the driver of the investments. Among the techniques to prompt that is additional scrap recycling. With the French conversion from blast furnace/basic oxygen to EAF production, ArcelorMittal writes, “One kilogram of steel produced by ArcelorMittal in France will soon contain up to 25 percent recycled steel.”

Yves Koeberlé, CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products, says, “As a leader in steelmaking, ArcelorMittal is committed to decarbonizing its plants in Europe to serve our industrial customers–automotive, packaging, construction, transport but also solar and wind energy and future networks for hydrogen and CO2 capture. We are grateful for this support from the French state, which will enable the major transformation of our sites in Fos-sur-Mer and Dunkirk, which together account for over one-third of ArcelorMittal’s flat steel production in Europe.”

In Fos-sur-Mer, ArcelorMittal will build an EAF unit that “will complement the ladle furnace announced last March,” the company says. It adds, “Together these investments will turn Fos-sur-Mer into a reference site for the production of low carbon, circular steel, made from recycled steel.”

In Dunkirk, ArcelorMittal says it will build a 2.5-million-metric-tons-per-year DRI plant “to transform iron ore using hydrogen instead of coal." ArcelorMittal says, “This DRI will be coupled with an innovative technology electric furnace and completed by an additional electric arc furnace (EAF). Other investments are already underway to continue to increase the proportion of scrap steel used."

The new industrial facilities will be operational starting in 2027 and will gradually replace 3 out of 5 of ArcelorMittal’s blast furnaces in France by 2030, the company says. Two of the three blast furnaces to be retired are in Dunkirk, and the third is in Fos-sur-Mer.

Matthieu Jehl, CEO of ArcelorMittal France, says of French government incentives being provided, “This support makes possible the extremely high investments we need to make to decarbonize steelmaking on our Dunkirk site, Europe’s largest steel-producing site. We will therefore continue transforming our sites in France to deliver our customers with low carbon steel.”