News of Lone Star mill’s gradual restart welcomed in Cass County
By John Dilmore
News last week that the idled U.S. Steel mill in nearby Lone Star will restart was greeted enthusiastically by people across western Cass County.
The mill’s gradual restart is the result of improvement in the oil industry and an upturn in the economy in general, according to U.S. Steel’s first-quarter earnings report.
Increased rig counts were cited specifically.
“U.S. Steel is in the process of a gradual restart of the No. 2 Welded Pipe Mill at our Lone Star Tubular Operations in Lone Star,” Meghan Cox, external communications manager with U.S. Steel, said last week. “We expect production to resume in May, and we anticipate recalling approximately 200 employees.”
Word that people would be going back to work at the mill was welcomed in Linden.
“We love seeing it coming back,” said Bob Swisher, Linden city administrator. “We have quite a few people, both directly and indirectly, affected by the closure.
“We’re hoping it comes back and opens up fully, just for the employment factor, and then the secondary employment too.”
The mill’s idling left many unemployed or underemployed, and the ripple effect of that has been felt across a range of local economic sectors.
Hughes Springs City Manager George Fite said recalled employees will come from within a 40-mile radius of Lone Star, and their going back to work will have a positive impact on the entire area.
“When U.S. Steel is doing well that improves our economy, and available dollars for people to spend,” Fite said. “It just makes everything better and removes a lot of worry in people’s minds.”
U.S. Steel noted in its report, “Market conditions have continued to improve and we will realize greater benefits as these improved conditions are recognized more fully in our future results. We are focused on long-term and sustainable improvements in our business model that will position us to continue to be a strong business partner that creates value for our customers.”
Announcement of employees being recalled to the No. 2 Welded Pipe Mill comes after word late last year that U.S. Steel would permanently close the No. 1 electric-weld mill in Lone Star.