Bethlehem Steel Corporation has sought a solution how expand its production capacity at the beginning of 1920´s already. The undeveloped dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan west of Chicago were offering a convenient place to build a new plant. However this plan was abandoned after merging with Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company.
The need has risen in late 50´s again. To avoid stockpiling of semi-finished products the 110" plate mill with cold finishing line were built first to process the slabs from Lackawanna plant meanwhile. Construction phase I was finished in 1966 by commissioning strip mill 80".
The second phase involved the primary metallurgy line. In 1969 has begun the construction of coke plant, BOF shop with two 300 t vessels and blast furnace "D" , the very first one in Northern America charged by conveyor belt and the largest one at the same time.
In 1972 blast furnace "C" was commissioned , in 1975 the slab caster and third basic oxygen furnace and plate rolling mill 160" were put into operation. By that time the mill had over 11,000 employees already.
The last construction phase has never been realized due to gradual decline of steel products demand. Blast furnaces "A" and "B" together with two other BOF shops, pipe, wire and rod mill will stay on project sheets forever.
The works were operated by Bethlehem Steel Corporation until the bankruptcy in 2001. Soon after the International Steel Group (ISG) took over. Since 2005 Burns Harbor was merged into Mittal Steel holding company.
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