Ukraine’s Metinvest announced the temporary suspension of its two Italian rolling mills, Ferriera Valsider and Metinvest Trametal, until April 3 in order to comply with Italian government directives to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, according to a press release on the company’s website on March 31.
While the company estimates that production will fall by 40,000mt during this period, it cautions that the time frame and lost production could be extended if the Italian government impose additional restrictions.
Metinvest goes on to state the respective facilities have sufficient inventory of semi-finished steel products, which will enable the resumption of production and in line with demand once restrictions are lifted.
That said, the company acknowledges that it may be forced to completely shut down slab production from its Azovstal steelmaking facility should restrictions across Europe continue to impact downstream steel consumption.
Among other measures, the company has considered shutting blast furnace 3 at Azovstal and rescheduling the relaunch of its idled blast furnaces at Ilyich Steel and Azovstal. The relaunch of blast furnace no. 5 at the Zaporizhstal Joint Venture might also be postponed.
Metinvest also plans to channel any surplus iron ore from its Kryvyi Rih mining asset to markets like China, should their iron and steel production continue to decline.