Local blast furnace featured as modern marvel

 

History channel look at big machines uses Mittal Steel name, not Ispat Inland

BY ANDREA HOLECEK
holecek@nwitimes.com
219.933.3316

This story ran on nwitimes.com on Saturday, January 29, 2005 12:41 AM CST

EAST CHICAGO -- Ispat Inland Inc.'s No. 7 blast furnace was featured as the largest blast furnace in North America on The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" program Wednesday, but the Ispat Inland name was conspicuous in its absence.

The program, which featured five of the world's largest machines, referred to the East Chicago plant as Mittal steel company rather than Ispat Inland, even though the company hasn't officially renamed the plant.

Mittal Steel Co. N.V., was formed through the consolidation of Ispat International N.V. and LNM Holdings N.V., in November.

But with the pending merger of Mittal and International Steel Group Inc., which also owns a steel plant -- ISG Indiana Harbor -- in East Chicago, Mittal has postponed officially changing Ispat Inland's name.

"The show will live on, and we didn't want them to include something in it that would soon be out of date,'' said David Allen, Ispat Inland's corporate communications manager.

"The brand is Mittal.''

When the official name change is completed, a new Mittal company logo will replace Ispat Inland's blue oval on paper goods, smokestacks, buildings, vehicles and even the steel coils already in inventory waiting to be shipped to customers, Allen has said.

The Inland name may or may not remain in some form, he said.

Ispat Inland will become part of Mittal's U.S. division along with ISG's facilities in East Chicago and Burns Harbor, Riverdale and Hennipin, Ill., and in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.

No. 7 blast furnace was built by the company -- then Inland Steel Co. -- in 1980 at a cost of $1 billion, according to the documentary. The largest and newest of the three blast furnaces at Ispat Inland, the furnace produces about 10,000 tons of steel daily, and has twice the capacity of the other two furnaces combined. It was relined in the summer of 2004 at a cost of about $100 million.