Ukraine’s Zaporizhstal steel mill, partly owned by Metinvest, has started production of a new type of hot-rolled coils for Polish customers. According to Ukrainian media reports, Polish customers have ordered HRCs weighing at least 9 tons each.

Previously, to fulfill such an order, two coils were welded together. Thanks to new production lines, this operation is no longer necessary and saves on packaging and transportation.

The company is thus trying to capitalize on Polish demand for HRC, whose supply has been disrupted by much reduced Ukrainian production and the EU ban on Russian steel.

Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus together accounted for 25 percent of total Polish steel imports in 2021, meaning that the war in Ukraine has forced buyers to look for alternative suppliers.

In April, Zaporizhstal produced less steel than the previous year, and annual production declined accordingly. The plant produced only 68,900 tons of pig iron, down 81 percent from the previous year, 73,600 tons of crude steel, down 78 percent, and 65,700 tons of finished products, down 76.7 percent.

January-April pig iron production decreased by 45.1% year-on-year to 830,200 tons, crude steel production decreased by 45.8% to 721,000 tons, and finished product production decreased by 44.1% to 630,100 tons.

At the end of March, the steel mill partially resumed production of its operations (read article here) for subsequent shipment of product to the European market. In early April, blast furnaces No. 3 and No. 4 were started up. As a result, April saw Zaporizhstal working at about 50 percent capacity utilization.

Metinvest suspended all production at the steel mill on March 2 due to intensified fighting following the Russian invasion, putting its Zaporizhya coke plant, Zaporizhkoks, offline for use.

Last year, Zaporizhstal produced 4.5 million tons of pig iron, 3.8 million tons of crude oil, and 3.2 million tons of finished steel, with production almost stable from the previous year.