Big news for Steeltown.
The Federal Minister of Innovation and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, was in Hamilton, where he announced a $50 million investment in Arcelor Mittal Dofasco. But, it wasn’t made entirely clear when other steel mills including Stelco, will get their share of federal help.
“Arcelor Mittal Dofasco is the first investment, there’s many more to come.”
A large chunk of change is coming to one Hamilton steel mill, but not the others, at least not for now.
“Its on a project by project basis.”
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive timeline or how much other mills would get.
“In the coming weeks and months.. our perspective is that we’re going to do proper due diligence, assess each and every single project, but fundamentally, this is a clear demonstration that our government is here to support the steel and aluminum workers, and we have their back.”
The $50 million announced for Arcelor Mittal Dofasco today, was part of a $2 billion support package the Federal Government announced following the tariffs the US slapped on Canadian steel and aluminum back in March.
This money, Bains says, is to modernize Dofasco, making it more efficient.
Arcelor Mittal Dofasco is in the process of modernizing its facilities, with a price tag of $205 million. This money, they say, will help them with the following:
– upgrade to the hot mill to improve high-steel strength production
– boiler upgrade
– upgrades to the the finishing process
– blast furnace fuel consumption reduction plan
– blast furnace extension
– heavy equipment upgrades
But investment or no investment, the tariffs have yet to be lifted and Gary Howe, President of United Steelworkers Union 10-05, says since the implementation of the tariffs and the new NAFTA deal – the USMCA – his members have been left in the dark.
“I think they need to tell us what the plan is, so that we’re involved, and the workers get the chance to know what’s going on.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was also questioned about the tariffs in Hamilton today.
“I think its really important to recognize that there still continues to be tariffs on steel that are negatively affecting our city’s economic future and the future of the many steelworkers that we have here in our community.”
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, says more needs to be done as well.
“I’ve been working hard to work against the tariffs and support our steel industry in this city. Its not the massive steel industry it used to be, but it is still critically important for our employees and citizens that we continue to support steel workers in our city.”
Regarding the funding today, Arcelor Mittal provided a statement which reads in part:
“… unfairly traded offshore imports continue to plague the Canadian steel market and there is continued concern of offshore import diversion into Canada.”
“…the government initiated provisional safeguard actions to help deter this…and the safeguard actions were welcomed.”
CHCH reached out to Stelco for comment today as well, but have not heard back.