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Sault’s biggest-ever construction job changes city skyline

Main melt shop building will be about 350 metres long when completed
Algoma Steel’s electric arc furnace is seen under construction at the right of this photo, taken by SooToday from the locks area on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Algoma Steel's $703-million electric arc furnace conversion, the most expensive building project in Sault Ste. Marie's history, is now visible from off the property.

Progress on the skyline-altering job can now be seen from the locks area, as seen in this photograph taken on March 24 by SooToday's Kenneth Armstrong.

The main melt shop building will be about 350 metres long.

Its structural elements are fabricated from Algoma Steel plate products with help from local contractor SIS Manufacturing Inc.

A 900-tonne dust hood above the electric arc furnaces will divert heat and smoke to environmental scrubbers.

The dust hood will be lifted into place with a 450-ton crane, says Walters Group Inc., another contractor involved in the work.

Last week, Algoma's chief executive officer, Michael Garcia, announced the massive project is on budget and on schedule for a projected furnace startup in mid-2024.

"Once the project is completed, we expect Algoma will be one of the lowest-cost green-steel production facilities in North America, expanding our annual steelmaking capacity from 2.8 million tons to 3.7 million tons with a significant reduction (estimated at approximately 70 per cent) in carbon emissions," the company said in a written statement.

PUC is building a new 230-kilovolt local transmission line to service the two new furnaces.

GE Canada is supplying gas-turbine upgrades to Algoma Steel's internal power generation facility.

The building project also includes a new water treatment plant.

Before the steelmaker's conversion to electric arc steel making, the biggest building job in Sault Ste. Marie’s history was the new Sault Area Hospital, completed in 2011 at a cost of $408 million.

The new electric arc furnaces will replace Algoma's existing blast furnace and basic oxygen steelmaking operations.

— SooToday