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Ukraine Steelmakers Slammed By Electricity Outages

Via AG Metal Miner 

Russian forces continue to wage rocket attacks on Ukraine’s cities and energy networks. So far, the destruction has caused at least one steelmaker and one iron ore producer to lower their production levels.

Integrated longs producer ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih recently announced it would limit the electricity consumption of its most energy-intensive equipment. According to an October 11 Telegram, the loading and dispatching of finished products will continue as normal for the time being.

ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih sits in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast area. The site can produce an estimated 6 million metric tons per year of crude steel via the BF/BOF route. It casts this into billets for rolling into long products like wire rod, rebar, and merchant bar.

Iron Ore Company Ferrexpo Also Suspending Operations

“Three steelmakers in areas of the country under Kyiv’s control – ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, Kamet Steel and Zaporizhstal – are now operating at an average 50-60% of capacity, which totals 13.5 million metric tons per year” sources said. “Pipe and tube making group Interpipe, in Dnipro, also casts about 1.3 million metric tons per year of round billet via an electric arc furnace. It is unclear, however, if the plant is now operating.”

“Engineers are currently conducting an assessment of the damage incurred to electrical infrastructure,” Ferrexpo stated. The company also added that it was attempting to perform an “estimate of the period of production downtime as repairs are carried out,”

Ferrexpo’s active iron ore mining and enrichment assets are at Poltava, Yeristovo, and Belanovo. In an October 9 press release, the company stated its total commercial production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 5.72 million metric tons. This indicates a decline of nearly one-third year-on-year from 8.43 million metric tons.

“The group can confirm that it currently has a sufficient volume of its products, either currently in transit and or in stockpiles, to meet its expected sales volumes, subject to logistics corridors remaining available,” the Ferrexpo statement noted.

Front Lines and Tactics Shifting Amid Ukrainian Gains

On October 10, Ukrainian Railways sent out telegrams warning that damage to overhead wires could stop electric trains and locomotives, which would slow iron ore refining further. The state rail operator said it was preparing diesel locomotives in response.

The rocket attacks on October 10 and October 11 impacted the capital city of Kyiv, the western city of L’viv, and Zaporizhstal. The latter is home to the Ukrainian flat steel producer of the same name.

Aside from knocking out power in multiple regions, these attacks claimed a number of civilian lives. The barrage came on the heels of the October 8 explosion on the Crimea Bridge. The blast proved powerful enough to destroy most of the westbound lanes utilized by Russian troops.

The fixed structure links mainland Russia with the Crimea Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 via the Kerch Strait. For months, it served as a logistics line for delivering Russian personnel and equipment.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a terror attack and blamed Ukrainian special services for the assault. Indeed, Ukraine has made significant gains in recent weeks. Still, these new attacks show the conflict remains extremely heated.

By Eurasianet.org

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