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EU steel plants at a standstill, here's the state of play

Published: - 16/09/2022 Author: Di Maggio, EIC
EU steel plants at a standstill, here's the state of play

It's already well-known news: steel production is on a downward slope just about everywhere in the world. According to the latest data released by the World Steel Association, only India and Iran, among the steel production biggies, are exceptions. Global production in July decreased by 6.5 percent compared to the same month a year earlier.

Europe is among the regions going through a difficult time due to soaring energy prices. More and more steel mills have announced a halt or slowdown in production.
At the forefront of these is ArcelorMittal, the world's second-largest steel producer, which has put a halt to production at several sites scattered throughout Europe.

It's been announced that, by the end of September, the company will shut down one of its two blast furnaces at its steel plant in Bremen, Germany. In Poland, ArcelorMittal is planning to stop one of its two blast furnaces at the Dąbrowa Górnicza steelworks. A similar situation in Spain, where the steel giant has a plant in Asturias, and where Acerinox, the multinational company dedicated to stainless steel production, was also forced to reduce working hours to avoid operating at a loss.

Even in Italy, a country fatigued by high utility bills as much or more than its European neighbors, there are idle steel plants that have not restarted after the summer break.

As of September 9, a total of 15 steel mills in Europe have paused or plan to pause their production. An interesting map provided by the Ukrainian think-tank GMK Center shows all European steel plants affected by a partial or total halt. Check out this link >>

Just to give you some context, at this link, there is a list from Eurofer with all European upstream steel production sites – via the blast furnace & basic oxygen furnace route, and via the electric arc furnace technology - updated to June 2021.

The aluminum industry is not doing well either, with several smelters in Europe forced to cut their output or even stop production due to skyrocketing energy bills.

Representatives of steel and metal industries across Europe are clamoring for EU policymakers to provide immediate relief to their plight, being energy-intensive factories highly exposed to international competition.

In the picture, ArcelorMittal Poland Unit in Dabrowa Gornicza.
Photo by Dariusz Chmiel, Creative Commons License.

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