ArcelorMittal Poland to permanently close BF in Krakow

Thursday, 08 October 2020 17:36:39 (GMT+3)   |   Brescia

ArcelorMittal Poland has announced that it will permanently close the hot area of its Krakow plant. The decision was made due to high energy costs and declining demand, which was due to the coronavirus pandemic and cheap imports into the EU. "The Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented consequences for the European steel industry. Although demand in recent weeks has revived somewhat - mostly driven by inventory corrections - it is still considerably below pre-Covid levels," said Sanjay Samaddar, CEO of ArcelorMittal Poland. "This means that we have to take some very difficult decisions, which will regrettably mean the closure of the blast furnace and steel shop in Krakow," he added.

The blast furnace was idled in November last year due to reduced demand and high import volumes into the EU. In March, i.e., after the pandemic outbreak, ArcelorMittal postponed the plant's restart indefinitely.

ArcelorMittal stressed that there is little hope for a recovery in the steel market in the short term, stating that, as a result, the company had to "take permanent measures in order to adapt to this lower demand."

The coking plant in the Krakow branch of ArcelorMittal Poland will continue to work, as will the downstream operations (two rolling mills, the hot dip galvanizing line and the new organic coating line), in which the company has invested PLN 500 million (€110 million) over the last five years. The plant employs 650 workers.

ArcelorMittal Poland owns two other blast furnaces in Poland, at the Dabrowa Gornicza plant, with a total capacity of approximately 6 million metric tons. The company took the decision to concentrate the production of hot metal at its two blast furnaces in Dabrowa Gornicza in order to improve its cost competitiveness. "The slabs for the rolling mills in Kraków will come mainly from the steel shop in Dabrowa Gornicza, where the company will invest PLN 180 m (€40 m) in debottlenecking projects, and to produce special grades for further processing into grain-oriented steel," the company added.

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