The legacy of Algoma dates back to 1901, when American entrepreneur Francis Hector Clergue founded an industrial empire in Sault Ste. Marie. Perched on the shores of Lake Superior on the edge of the Canadian Shield, the Sault offered an attractive source of plentiful and cheap hydroelectric power and was an ideal location from which to feed Canada's growing appetite for steel. In 1902, the Bessemer at the steelworks went into operation, producing the liquid steel that would be cast into ingots and rolled into the very rails that would ultimately span the nation from coast to coast.
The company grew with the first structural mill and expanded iron and steelmaking facilities. Continued growth saw more equipment and facilities for new product lines. More properties were purchased, more sources of raw materials were secured and more technologies applied to strengthen the company.
Despite setbacks during the First World War and the Second World War, Algoma survived and grew into a major integrated steel company. Additional coke oven batteries and blast furnaces were built. In steelmaking, the open hearth and Bessemer steelmaking processes were phased out and Algoma became a North American pioneer in the basic oxygen steelmaking process. From rails and structural shapes, the product line expanded to include plate, hot and cold rolled sheet, unfinished parts and seamless tubular products. State-of-the-art technologies made Algoma one of the most modern integrated mills in North America.
The 80's and 90's were accompanied by severe economic and market downswings and like many in the North American steel industry, Algoma restructured and reorganized. The new Algoma was born with the signing of a Joint Restructuring Process Agreement in April of 1992.
October 28, 1995 marked a proud moment in Algoma's history as construction commenced on Algoma's Direct Strip Production Complex (DSPC). Today the complex is Algoma's cornerstone asset, positioning Algoma as one of the leaders in the North American hot rolled sheet market.
The market dropped again at the close of decade and in 2002 Algoma emerged from its second restructuring and embarked on a course of action that would lead to Algoma's most profitable year on record in 2004. With a net income of $343.8 million, Algoma's share price rose 416% that year, making Algoma's stock one of the leading performers on the TSX. Algoma had established a solid foundation, and in 2005 the Company turned its attention to building a future in the global marketplace.
In June 2007 Algoma was acquired by Essar Steel Holdings Ltd., a division of the multi-national conglomerate, Essar Global. A perfect fit with Essar's global steel vision of world class, low cost assets with a global footprint, Algoma offered Essar a strong platform for growth in the North American market. Over the next three to five years Essar plans to significantly enhance Algoma's valuation through strategic capital expenditure initiatives aimed at increasing overall output to in excess of four million tons per annum.