Metinvest eyes China, Brazil slab for Europe rolling

Metinvest’s European mills are in talks to find alternative slab suppliers, for example in China and Brazil, after feedstock supply dried up from the Ukrainian parent plants due to war, says Metinvest general director Yuriy Ryzhenkov.

The group’s Italian and UK rolling mills are traditionally heavily dependent on Azovstal slab. “In principle, the main suppliers of slabs to the European market, not only to our plants, but also to the plants of other companies in general, were Azovstal and Russian companies,” Ryzhenkov told the Ukraine 24 state television channel. “Thus, two large suppliers have simply disappeared from the market today, and this creates a difficult situation on the market.”

Ryzhenkov believes it will take at least two months to diversify supplies and the necessary products can be bought on the open market. “Now, we are working with plants to diversify supplies, buy slabs on the open market, from China, for example, or in Brazil,” the general director noted. “I think it will take a couple of months to rebuild, but we will succeed. But, of course, this is a serious shock for the European steel industry, which has been deeply integrated with the Ukrainian one.”

Ukraine has lost around 30-40% of its pre-war steelmaking capacity due to the Russian invasion, Ryzhenkov said. “The Mariupol plants are more than a third of Ukraine’s steel production,” he observed. “These steel plants will definitely be rebuilt after Russian troops are expelled from Ukraine. I have no doubt that their work will be resumed, but for this the city must remain Ukrainian.”

According to him, the two idled metallurgical plants, Azovstal and Ilyich Steelworks, are currently under the control of the Ukrainian army, Kallanish notes.

Until now, only 5,000 employees of Metinvest, or a little more than 10% of the company’s employees, have been able to get out of Mariupol, which has been under siege by Russian forces for a month, Ryzhenkov said.

Metinvest’s Kametstal plant is operating at approximately 80% of its capacity, he added. At the same time, Metinvest’s mining and processing plants in Krivoy Rog operate at 35-40% of their capacity. In addition, the Pokrovskoye mine and Metinvest’s assets abroad continue to work.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria