Ukrainian steelmaker Metinvest says not possible to resume production

Ukrainian mining and steel company Metinvest sees no possibility of restarting its operations in Mariupol because the city has been without power and communications since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company said March 3.

Metinvest, which normally produces around 40% of Ukraine’s steel, suspended its two iron and steel works in Mariupol — Ilyich and Azovstal – on Feb. 24 in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Production is also halted at Metinvest’s Mariupol Machining and Repair Plant. These sites only have staff on hand to maintain the equipment and ensure there are no accidents.

On March 1, unable to ship its products, conduct cross-border payments and because of mounting risks to its personnel and assets, the company declared force majeure.

Located on the Azov Sea, Mariupol on March 3 was encircled by Russian forces, according to the UK Defense Ministry, as reported by AP.

“Today, there is no question of resuming work, as Mariupol remains without power and communications due to Russia’s military invasion,” Metinvest said.

Emergency teams are doing their best to repair damaged equipment to restore communications, said Metinvest, adding it has been helping residents of Mariupol, especially those made homeless by the war.

Metinvest’s Avdiivka Coke plant in the town of Avdiivka, like Mariupol near the Donbass border, continues to operate, although the majority of coke ovens have been put in standby mode, Metinvest said. Due to the hostilities and insurmountable logistical issues, Avdiivka Coke has been forced to put the second, third and fourth coke batteries, and the coal preparation shop into standby mode, it said.

Technical staff are working in shifts to ensure the preservation of production equipment. Remaining employees have been temporarily released. Part of the administrative staff is working remotely.

— Ekaterina Bouckley