Business

AK Steel, once an Ashland industrial powerhouse, is closing

AK Steel, long an industrial fixture in Ashland, is closing.
AK Steel, long an industrial fixture in Ashland, is closing.

AK Steel in Ashland announced Monday that it will close its Ashland Works plant by the end of 2019, according to the Ashland Daily Independent.

Most of the plant’s operations, including its blast furnace, have been idle since 2015, the newspaper reported.

AK Steel continued to operate a single hot dip galvanizing coating line and has 230 employees.

“That’s a big hit for any Smalltown America,” said Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore, quoted in the Daily Independent. “Armco — and that’s what most of us around here still know it as — is what raised me. My dad worked there for 28 years. Most of my friends were Armco kids. It just did an unbelievable job providing great employment for the middle class.”

An AK Steel news release said that production volumes and customers shipments are not expected to be affected by the closing. The company expects to lower its costs by $40 million annually, according to AK Steel.

AK Steel in Ashland laid off 633 employees in December, 2015.

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