Liberty pauses hot metal production in Europe

Liberty Steel has idled one blast furnace each at its Ostrava and Galati steelworks, bringing to a halt its hot metal production in Europe.

Its blast furnace at the Dunaferr works in Hungary was idled in the summer.

Ostrava’s BF no.3 has been stopped for two weeks from 23 October due to weak steel demand across Europe on account of macroeconomic issues. During the stoppage, the firm will carry out a short programme of care and maintenance to increase the stability and reliability of the furnace, an Ostrava spokesperson tells Kallanish.

Full employment will be maintained, while customers’ orders will still be produced as the relevant rolling mills will remain in production using pre-prepared stock.

The Galati steelworks’ BF no.5 has been stopped due to severe weather in the Black Sea and “dramatically” low water levels on the Danube River. This has impacted the delivery of enough raw materials to safely run the furnace, a Galati spokesperson observes. The firm plans to restart the unit later this month.

Last month, Ostrava began the closure of its VKB 11 coke oven, one of three at the works, due to inefficiency and growing unprofitability amid overcapacity in the market (see Kallanish passim). Over the summer, Galati received approval from a local Belgian court to acquire the coil rolling mills of Liberty Liège.

Adam Smith Poland