Slovak finance minister in US to discuss decarbonizing Kosice mill

Slovakia’s finance minister and deputy prime minister, Igor Matovic, is holding talks with US Steel Corporation’s CEO David Burritt and other company executives in Pittsburgh over the future of the US Steel Kosice plant in Eastern Slovakia and investments needed to improve the plant’s carbon emissions performance.

Matovic said on his twitter account that two days of talks during a working visit to the US at the invitation of US Steel Corporation are aimed at making US Steel Kosice “an ecological as well as an economic leader in Eastern Europe.”

The Kosice plant is the largest integrated steel plant in Central Europe with crude steel production capacity of 4.5 million mt/year.

“Talks will focus on the transition to a low carbon economy, cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and Slovakia’s renewal and resilience plan,” the Slovak finance ministry said in a May 12 statement, referring to the European Commission plan to help fund the relaunch and transformation of European Union economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The finance ministry is responsible for Slovakia’s version of the renewal plan.

The ministry said that the Slovak renewal and resilience plan has earmarked Eur363 million ($439 million) for modernization of Slovak industry aimed at reducing carbon emissions with funding possible for the best available technology. The Kosice steel plant can seek to use EU funds for cutting carbon emissions, the statement said. Industry accounts for 41% of all Slovak carbon emissions, the highest proportion in all the EU, it added.

US Steel Corporation announced April 21 that it aims to achieve carbon neutrality partly by making greater use of electric arc furnaces in its steel production. The group previously announced a target to reduce its global carbon emissions by 20% by 2030.

US Steel Kosice spokesman Jan Baca said that the minister’s visit to the US, together with a delegation from the Slovakia government, is a step forward in the country’s commitment to decarbonization. “US Steel and government officials are exploring practical ways to decarbonize our operations in Slovakia. We appreciate any opportunity to further explore partnering with the government to advance solutions that help us advance our 2050 net neutral carbon goal.”

— Chris Johnstone