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ArcelorMittal plant in Ukraine aims to resume production as soon as possible

Kitco News

By Max Hunder

KYIV, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih steel works in Ukraine said on Friday it hoped "as soon as possible" to resume production that has been suspended because of a lack of electricity following Russian missile strikes. The plant, which is owned by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal , said on Thursday it had stopped smelting steel and producing rolled products because of the poor electricity supply after attacks on energy facilities across Ukraine on Wednesday.

Asked on Friday when operations would resume, spokesperson Anna Gatilova said: "Unfortunately it's very difficult to predict." "We cannot say for sure because we are dependent on the situation in the country as a whole, and how electricity will be distributed nationwide," she said. "We are not yet considering our long-term plans, we are hoping that it will be possible to restore the country's power grid as soon as possible."

The energy situation in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih was so poor that trolleybuses and trams were being switched off there after an order from state grid operator Ukrenergo, the city's mayor said on Friday. Ukraine's industrial south was a steel production hub before Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Two of the four largest steel plants, both in the heavily damaged port city of Mariupol, have been captured by Russia.

The Zaporizhstal steel mill in the city of Zaporizhzhia remains under Ukrainian control, but plant owners Metinvest declined to comment on the situation at the plant on Friday. ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih produced nearly 5 mln tonnes of crude steel in 2021, but said that before Thursday the plant had been operating at 20% capacity because of Russia's invasion. The company said the working ovens had been placed in a state known as "hot conservation" allowing for speedy resumption of their use once power is restored.

(Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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