In the next two years, due to the reconstruction and upgrade of some of its essential steelmaking facilities, NLMK will have excess iron ore products that it will offer to the merchant market.
The company, which is near 100% self-sufficient in iron ore, has begun preliminary talks with potential buyers. Group president Grigory Fedorishin told Kallanish this week the firm has no preference whether to sell in the domestic or export market, or in the form of pellet or concentrate. “It is all down to the market, and we might even end up stockpiling it,” he said.
As a result of a comprehensive "no-regret" upgrade of Lipetsk to add 1 million tonnes/year of crude steel output during the next four years, NLMK will also have less merchant pig iron and slab. Sales in 2018, when NLMK almost doubled its pig iron exports, "…were opportunistic" and not strategic, he said. He also noted, however, that NLMK "… will always find buyers for its pig iron," considering its high quality and the base of regular buyers.
NLMK is embarking on the second major strategic development plan, lasting to 2023, which will ramp up its iron ore concentrate output to 20m t/y, and iron ore pellet output to 8m t/y. These will grow respectively by 2.3m t/y and 1.2m t/y. NLMK's steel output will rise by 1m t/y to 14.2m t/y.