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Finland’s Outokumpu to limit ferrochrome production until at least Q1 2023

Finnish stainless steelmaker Outokumpu said Oct. 7 it will continue to restrict ferrochrome production by delaying the return of one of its three ferrochrome furnaces at its Tornio facility due to high electricity prices at least until the end of the first quarter of 2023.

At the beginning of September the company delayed its decision to restart the furnace after a maintenance break begun in August.

“Unfortunately, the situation in the energy market has not eased,” said Martti Sassi, President, business area Ferrochrome. “But the high price of electricity continues to have a negative impact on our cost competitiveness compared to our competitors, mainly from outside Europe. The possible further delay of the restarting of the furnace is a difficult but potentially necessary measure in an utterly exceptional situation.”

The furnace that has been shut down accounts for about 30% of the entire company’s ferrochrome capacity, Outokumpu said in a press release. It added that the continued restriction of ferrochrome production would not affect its stainless-steel deliveries.

According to the company’s website, ferrochrome production in Tornio dates back to 1968, following the discovery of chrome ore deposits in Kemi in 1959. There are three ferrochrome smelting furnaces in Tornio, with the newest beginning operation in 2013, doubling ferrochrome production capacity to 530,000 mt/year.

The company’s 2021 total ferrochrome production was 514,886 mt, according to a spokesperson.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed ferrochrome 65% 6-8% high-carbon DDP NWE up by $42/lb since the beginning of the year to $230/lb.

— Annalisa Villa