ArcelorMittal has announced that it is temporarily stopping production at its Hunedoara steel plant, part of the company’s ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products division.
Production at the plant – which makes products including sections, billets and merchant bars, and currently employs 640 people and 200 contractors – was suspended on 1 December 2019.
“Electricity and gas prices have risen significantly for industrial users in Romania in recent years, with Romanian prices significantly higher than other European countries with major steelmaking operations, such as France and Germany. With European steelmakers also struggling to compete due to high levels of imported steel and weak domestic demand, the Hunedoara plant – which operates using an Electric Arc Furnace, with energy therefore representing a major cost – is no longer able to compete,” says a company’s press release.
The company voiced hope that a solution can be found to address the issue of high electricity and gas prices, and to allow the Hunedoara plant to have a sustainable future.
ArcelorMittal acquired the Hunedoara plant in 2003, and has since invested RON550m (EUR115m) to make technical and environmental improvements to the plant.
Employees will be asked to consume their remaining annual leave, with the company granting workers “economic unemployment” for the remaining days.