Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor steel plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor steel plant, also known as Burns Harbor and ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor steel plant (predecessor), is a 5000 thousand tonnes per annum (TTPA) blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steel plant operating in Burns Harbor, Indiana, United States.


The map below shows the location of the steel plant in Burns Harbor, Indiana, United States.

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  • Location: 250 W. U.S. Highway 12, Burns Harbor, IN 46304-9745, United States[1]
  • Coordinates (WGS 84): 41.631221, -87.143846 (exact)


The Burns Harbor steel plant was built by the Bethlehem Steel group and began operating in 1964 as one of the largest integrated steel plants in the United States. It relied on the Port of Indiana to import raw materials. In 2003, Bethlehem Steel was bought by ISG for $1.5 billion in 2003. In 2007, ArcelorMittal acquired ISG (and the plant) for $4.5 billion.[2][3] The facility was then bought in 2020 by Cleveland Cliffs in a $1.4 billion deal with ArcelorMittal.[4]

Environmental Compliance

Burns Harbor has had a long track record of environmental damage. During construction, Bethlehem Steel leveled several ecologically important sand dunes conservationists were attempting to protect (which later became the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore).[5]

In 2018, the facility was named the "largest source of industrial lead pollution" in the country after emitting nearly 18,000 pounds of lead and 173,000 pounds of benzene in 2016.[5]

In August 2019, the facility had to use Lake Michigan water for its blast furnace gas air scrubbers after a pump failure in the plant's blast furnace water recycling system. Since the pumps were not functioning, the facility ended up discharging many more millions of gallons of untreatable water which flowed to the East Arm of the Little Calumet River. The water contained cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen which exceeded its NPDES permit limit; an estimated 3,000 fish died in the Little Calumet River due to this incident, and nearby beaches and a drinking water intake facility had to be closed. The blast furnace pumps stopped operating for several days.[6] It is unclear if the steel plant was fined for this breach.

In 2020, the Environmental Law and Policy Center found that Burns Harbor had violated its Clean Water Act permit over a hundred times in the past four years and filed a lean Water Act enforcement lawsuit against the facility.[7]

In December 2020, state inspectors discovered that the plant had violated several environmental regulations by inaccurately self-monitoring their data, including storing their effluent samples at non-definitive temperatures that could change sample testing results.[4]

Worker Safety

In July 2020, an explosion damaged one of the blast furnaces at Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor steel plant (formerly ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor), and sent molten material out of the plant building, before setting it ablaze.[8] No employees were killed or injured in the explosion.[8] A video posted to social media showed that "the explosion at Blast Furnace D showered the mill with the shrapnel of large chunks of burning hot white refractory, the interior lining that protects the blast furnace shell from the super-heated temperatures within during the steelmaking process, suggesting that significant damage occurred."[9]

In November 2021 there was another explosion at the slag pit of the plant. Nobody was injured. [10]

Plant Details

Table 1: General Plant Details

Plant status Start date Workforce size
operating[1] 1964[11] 3170[1]

Table 2: Ownership and Parent Company Information

Parent company Parent company PermID Owner Owner company PermID
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc [100%][12] 4295903753 [100%] Cleveland-Cliffs Inc[1] 4295903753

Table 3: Process and Products

Steel product category Steel products Steel sector end users ISO 14001 Main production equipment Detailed production equipment
finished rolled[1] hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled sheet, hot-dipped galvanized sheet[1] automotive; building and infrastructure; energy; steel packaging; tools and machinery; transport[1] 2021[13] blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF)[1] 2 coking plants (began in 1983 and 1994, 82 ovens each, 39.11m3 each); sinter plant; 3 BOF (began in 1969)[14][1][15]

Table 4: Crude Steel Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum):

Basic oxygen furnace steelmaking capacity Nominal crude steel capacity (total)
5000 TTPA[1] 5000 TTPA

Table 5: Crude Iron Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum):

Blast furnace capacity Nominal iron capacity (total)
3635 TTPA[16] 3635 TTPA

Table 6: Upstream Products Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum)

Sinter Coke
>0 TTPA[17] >0 TTPA[1]

Table 7: Actual Crude Steel Production by Year (thousand tonnes per annum):

Year BOF Production EAF Production OHF Production Total (all routes)
2020 3600 TTPA[18] 3600 TTPA
2021 3364 TTPA[19] 3364 TTPA

Table 8: Actual Crude Iron Production by Year (thousand tonnes per annum):

Year BF Production DRI Production Total (all routes)
2020 3584 TTPA[20] 3584 TTPA
2021 3636 TTPA[16] 3636 TTPA

Blast Furnace Details

Table 9: Blast Furnace Details:

Unit name Status Start date Current size Current capacity
C operating[21][22] 1972[21][22] 2645 m³[16][1][23][15] 2480 TTPA[24]
D operating[21][22] 1969[21][22] 2600 m³[16][1][23][15] 2480 TTPA[24]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Archived from the original on 2021-12-01. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. IHB (2020-12-16). "Legacy of Steel / Burns Harbor Steel Plant". IHB. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  3. "The Center for Land Use Interpretation". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Violations Continued at Burns Harbor Steel Mill During Last Days of ArcelorMittal Ownership". Indiana Environmental Reporter. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hawthorne, Michael (2018-08-01). "Indiana steel mill emits 18,000 pounds of lead a year. Is it blowing toward Chicago?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2021-10-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. US EPA, REG 05 (2019-10-31). "Cleveland Cliffs LLC, Burns Harbor (formerly ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor), Portage, Indiana". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  7. "Suing Lake Michigan Polluter in Burns Harbor". Environmental Law & Policy Center. 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Blast at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor idles furnace, Rye Druzin, Argus Media, Jul. 16, 2020, Retrieved on: Aug. 6, 2020
  9. Explosion hits ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor plant; official says stove dome failure to blame, Lauren Cross and Joseph S. Pete, Jul. 16, 2020, Updated Aug. 5, 2020, Retrieved on: Aug. 6, 2020
  10. "Explosion at Steel Plant Slag Pit, Cleveland-Cliffs, Burns Harbor, Indiana". Cardinal News. 2021-11-30. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  11. Archived from the original on 2022-07-02. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. Archived from the original on 2021-11-29. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-05-13. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. AIST_COKE_2022AIST_BF_2022
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "2022 AIST Basic Oxygen Furnace Roundup". Association for Iron & Steel Technology. April 2022. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 "2022 AIST North American Blast Furnace Roundup". Association for Iron & Steel Technology. March 2022. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  17. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-01-29. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-01-29. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. (PDF) {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. "2021 AIST North American Blast Furnace Roundup". Association for Iron & Steel Technology. March 2021. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Archived from the original on 2022-10-27. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. 23.0 23.1 "2022 AIST Coke Oven Roundup". Association for Iron & Steel Technology. January 2022. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  24. 24.0 24.1 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External resources

External articles

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of steel power plants, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Steel Plant Tracker and Global Blast Furnace Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.