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LORAIN, Ohio– Republic Steel says it anticipates production will start at the Lorain mill this spring.

More than 60 employees were hired and trained, and the mill was refurbished.

“We have successfully run internal production trials, and now anticipate receiving sufficient orders to support moving to a production mode in the 2nd quarter of this year,” Republic Steel said in a news release on Wednesday.

The blast furnace at the Lorain plant has been idle since 2016 when 200 workers were laid off. More than 1,000 Lorain steelworkers have lost their jobs in recent years.

Early last year, Republic Steel announced plans to restart the plant with hundreds hoping to return to work.

The company said steel tariffs didn’t create the demand for domestic production like it expected, which would have allowed production to begin in December.

“Imports remain at historically high levels for products produced at this mill,” Republic Steel said.

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