Esmark not planning to reopen mill

Yorkville – “We have no plans to restart. Economic conditions do not warrant starting up (the Yorkville mill) at this time,” said Bill Keegan earlier this week speaking on behalf of his client Jim Bouchard, Esmark and Esmark Steel Group.

This was offered in response when the company’s spokesman was asked to confirm the current status of Esmark Steel Group’s long touted efforts to return the idled Yorkville mill to a productive state.

Taking the position to not include restarting the plant in any of the foreseeable business plans being put forward by its ownership that they have no plans to run the place in the foreseeable future was not the message shared in October 2012 by the Bouchard led executive team.

It is also not the same message shared on behalf of Esmark or Esmark Steel Group even as recently as a few weeks ago.

Keegan said company officials are resting a large part of the blame for their decision not to move to restart the plant at the feet of things like a nationally soft housing market and global over capcacity.

For more than a year Esmark Steel and Esmark Steel Group’s top executive had said numerous times the company anticipated the mill restarting in the immediate or near future.

Both last year and this year, Esmark Steel Group’s leadership had said publicly the window for the joint business efforts that included the now idled cold rolling mill in Yorkville to be returned to operational status in order to supply its sister facility – the nearby Ohio Coatings Company – with the vital raw material “black plate” would play out as planned.

Now company officials are saying they have no operational plans at present, or even on “the horizon” that include restarting the idled facility.

Keegan also said Bouchard’s Esmark Steel Group, now owner of the legendary steel works, will entertain any viable offer connected to the facility’s future ability to be an operational mill again including partnerships or even selling it off completely.

Bouchard and Esmark Steel Group purchased the mill more than a year ago in federal bankruptcy court from the former RG Steel.

It has remained inactive since being shut down in May 2012 by RG Steel’s bankruptcy.

“We’re just not going to do it at this time. We’re not going to restart the Yorkville facility,” Keegan said.

He did confirm there will be a fire watch crew maintained.

USW Yorkville Local #1223 President Jerry Conners said he sees this public confirmation from the company’s spokesman on behalf of Bouchard and Esmark as that the company has no plans in the foreseeable future to realize a restarting of the mill as “making it pretty clear they are not likely to restart it.”

Loccisano can be reached at