Report: Cleveland-Cliffs could turn Weirton site into transformer producer

WEIRTON — Only a few days after being idled by Cleveland-Cliffs, the tinplate facility in Weirton may have a new future in the works.

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cleveland-Cliffs Chairman, President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves discussed the fate of the local mill Monday, while attending an event at the company’s Butler Works in Pennsylvania alongside U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“We are working on putting up a plant in Weirton to produce transformers,” Goncalves was quoted as saying. “That’s what the president of ERMCO is doing here today, we are negotiating.”

Based in Dyersburg, Tenn., ERMCO — Electric Research and Manufacturing Cooperative — began production of its first single-phase transformers in 1972 with 30 employees, according to its website. Today, the company has expanded to include more than 3,000 employees with operations in five states as well as Canada and Mexico.

Through its various subsidiaries, ERMCO produces single-phase and three-phase pole transformers, custom pole transformers, single- and three-phase padmount transformers, industrial control dry-type transformers, encapsulated dry-type transformers, ventilated dry-type transformers, data center transformers for power distribution units, padmount liquid-filled transformers, network liquid-filled transformers, as well as transformer components and accessories and power electronics and software.

The Weirton tin facility was idled Saturday, two months after Cleveland-Cliffs announced its plans in response to a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission overturning proposed tariffs on tin products imported from China, Germany and Canada. An investigation on imports from South Korea was halted by the ITC.

Approximately 900 employees have been affected by the layoffs resulting from the idling, with some securing positions at other Cleveland-Cliffs operations, while others opted to retire or find employment elsewhere. A group of workers, according to United Steelworkers Local 2911 President Mark Glyptis, is being kept on hand in Weirton through the end of the year as part of efforts to maintain the facility.


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