operations. US Steel said "We are encouraged by the increase in demand and believe this restart will best support our customers. This will also ensure that we have sufficient iron ore supply where it is needed to meet that demand. We expect to fill nearly 400 positions as part of this restart and will work with the United Steelworkers to recall employees that may have been affected by the idle."
In a call with investors last week, US Steel CEO David Burritt said the company is considering reopening Keetac to rebuild an inventory of iron ore pellets before locks on the Great Lakes close for winter. The Soo Locks, which connect Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes, are generally closed mid-January to mid-March due to ice. Ships loaded with ore in Lake Superior pass through the locks to reach steel mills along other Great Lakes.
The facility has been indefinitely idled since May, leaving 375 employees out of work after the pandemic caused the demand for steel to fall. Those employees are expected to be called back to work soon.