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Another European Steel Plant Scales Back Amid Ongoing Energy Crisis

On September 8, ArcelorMittal Poland announced it would take Blast Furnace No. 3 at the D?browa Górnicza steel manufacturing plant off stream starting in late September. According to the company, the temporary measure is a response to current market conditions throughout Europe.

At the moment, ArcelorMittal plans to have the furnace of stream for approximately six weeks. However, a company spokeswoman told MetalMiner that the two other furnaces at the site would continue to operate.

“Reducing production is the result of several factors,” the company said, elaborating on its decision. “[These include] the slow-down of economic activity in Europe, destocking done by customers, increasing level of imports from outside EU, and increasing gas and electricity prices.”

Gas and Energy Prices Steadily Rising All Around Europe

Data from Trading Economics showed that Dutch TTF gas was €220.54 ($220.58) per kilowatt hour on September 8. This is down by about one-third from the all-time high of €339.20 ($339.37) achieved on August 26,

Even so, the most recent benchmark price is almost four times higher than the €56.58 ($56.61) reported on September 9, 2021. As Europe enters winter, concerns over Russian gas supply volumes continue to push prices skyward.  

“Additionally, the cost of carbon, which is not applicable for steel producers importing steel into Europe, has reached record high levels this year, placing European steelmakers at a further competitive disadvantage,” the company added.

D?browa Górnicza has three blast furnaces that can produce 3.65 million metric tons per year of pig iron. It can also produce up to 5 million metric tons of crude steel via three basic oxygen furnaces for casting into billets and slab

The plant rolls the billets sections as well as rail. Meanwhile, it sends slabs to ArcelorMittal’s Kraków plant for rolling into hot and cold rolled coil.

Not the First (or Last) Steel Manufacturing Plant to Shutter

On September 7, a spokesperson for US Steel Košice stated that the integrated Slovak steelmaker also plans to take its number four blast furnace off stream for 60 days. “We continue to operate our facilities in line with customer demand,” the spokesperson added. “And we are going to adjust our maintenance schedules accordingly.” They also added that BFs 1 through 3 would continue operating.

The plant sits in eastern Slovakia, roughly 100 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. It can produce up to 4.5 million metric tons per year of pig iron from its three blast furnaces as well as an equal amount of crude steel from its four basic oxygen converters.

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Košice casts slab for rolling into hot and cold rolled coil as well as hot dipped galvanized sheet, tinplate, and other coated products. Further downstream, the plant produces non-grain oriented sheets for electrotechnical engineering as well as spiral-welded pipes.

Applications for finished products include automotive, construction, shipbuilding, white goods, packaging, and the energy sector.

By AG Metal Miner

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  • DoRight Deikins on September 14 2022 said:
    Why bother having steel plants when one can buy steel so much cheaper from others, at least for a little while. And when steel gets too expensive for us (because of import taxes and lack of competition from within the EU), others can build what used to be made in the EU, like cars, planes, and wind turbines. All those industrial workers can be re-trained to skilled jobs like waiters or tour guides.

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