Steel industry problems – level 3

29-09-2022 15:00

Europe’s steel industry faces an uncertain future. The surging energy costs are forcing steel producers to cut output and threaten plant shutdowns.

In eastern Belgium, company Aperam switched off some furnaces because its monthly cost for energy is the same as it spent in a year. The company’s production is down by nearly 50%, and over a thousand staff may be temporarily unemployed. Other major producers with many employees have also trimmed output.

Germany’s Steel Federation has warned of de-industrialization, and the EU plans to get some money from power producers. However, companies like Aperam do not know how much or when payments may get to them.

If this situation lasts for years, Europe will see de-inudstrialization of some industries, and for base metals, it’ll become dependent on imports. These changes matter for the environment, too, as Asian steel makers have lower costs but much higher carbon emissions.

Difficult words: furnace (an enclosed structure to heat materials to very high temperatures), trim (to cut), de-industrialization (the reduction of industrial activity in a region).

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