The Evraz steel mill in Claymont will shut its doors by the end of the year, leaving about 375 out of work.
The company cites reduced market demand and the high volume of imports as the reasons for suspending operations at the steel mill in northern New Castle County.
About 200 of the mill’s 375 workers live in Delaware. All will be out of work in about two months.
“We appreciate our employees’ efforts to operate Evraz Claymont as efficiently as possible,” said Executive Vice President John Zanieksi in a statement. “Unfortunately, market conditions continue to be challenging and low market visibility makes it difficult to foresee when positive changes will occur.”
A small crew will remain at the site to perform maintenance. The rest of the employees were issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications, which is required 60 days before a large facility like the Claymont steel mill is shut down.
Governor Markell: “Incredibly disappointing”
Delaware Governor Jack Markell spoke with WHYY about the plans to close the plant, “It’s obviously incredibly disappointing for the workers at that and their families.” He learned of the company’s plans late last week. “Unfortunately, I think it’s a reflection of this industry right now. Some very cheap imports coming in from some other countries and just not enough demand, it’s a bad combination.”
When announcing the mill shutdown, Evraz said it was suspending operations, but would look to work with Governor’s office to evaluate ways to reopen the facility. Markell said he wasn’t sure whether the closure will be permanent. “It’s hard to know. I think right now, the competitive dyanmics of that industry right now make it very difficult for them to make any money.”
Markell mentioned the Evraz steel mill in his 2013 State of the State Address delivered in January while discussing the need for Delaware to be able to complete on the global market. “Evraz of Russia owns the steel plant in Claymont…Companies from many other countries are important employers throughout our state. This is the world we now live in,” Markell said in front of a joint session of the General Assembly. “Around the country, companies are producing more than ever, but as a result of productivity gains, they sometimes do so with fewer people.”
Representatives from the state Department of Labor will be at the site later this week to help affected employees.
State legislators who represent the Claymont area also offered the support of their offices as well. “Today’s news is disheartening of the state, and especially the hundreds of familes we represent and who have been hurt by the shutdown.
State Senator Dennis E. Williams says people can reach out to him at 302-577-8480. Representative Byron Short says people can also call him at 302-577-8453.
Evraz North America took control of the plant from Claymont Steel in 2008.