Essar Algoma Steel announced plans to expand capacity by 25% to a total of 4 million metric tons by March 31, 2009. The company will spend approximately $152.8 million to restart an idle blast furnace, expand plate heat treatment and install a second ladle-metallurgy furnace. The blast furnace, which had remained idle since 1995, was commissioned in August 2008. Essar Algoma Steel, based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, also plans to install a cogeneration facility and build a state-of-the-art port in the western perimeter of its plant. The company has already raised annual production from its previous 2.4 million metric tons to its present 3.2 million metric tons.

The cogeneration plant, which the company is planning to open by January 2009, will produce power using waste gas from the steel plant, helping it to cut by half its dependence on electricity from the provincial power grid. Essar Steel Holdings acquired Algoma Steel in June 2007 for Canadian $1.85 billion and formally changed the company’s name to Essar Algoma Steel in June 2008.