Nippon Steel plans to restart blast furnace No 2 at its Kimitsu Qorks in Chiba Prefecture in December, according to media reports.
The blast furnace was idled in June after the precipitous decline in steel demand, which occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with lockdown measures easing, demand from the automobile and other domestic industries have risen and given Nippon Steel a reason to restart the blast furnace.
Six blast furnaces out of the company’s 15 were idled this year, and upon their resumption Japan’s steel producing capacity will reach 90pc of pre-pandemic levels. In August, Japan’s steel production reached 6.44mn mt.
JFE Steel also restarted its blast furnaces in September as a response to increased demand. Nippon Steel and JFE Steel together expect an output of 2mn mt of crude steel in the second half of FY2021 compared to H1 FY2021, according to media reports.