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Ukraine's Kametstal steel plant faces challenges as Black Sea blockade continues

Azovstal workers transfer to Kamelstal steelworks factory
Azovstal workers transfer to Kamelstal steelworks factory Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File
Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File
By Euronews
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While the Azovstal factory in the key city of Mariupol fell to Russian forces in mid-May, work continues from another site three hundred kilometres away at the Kametstal plant.

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 The Kametstal steel plant - a site which now boasts 9000 employees - produces several tonnes of steel every day

More than 500 workers transferred here when the Azovstal complex became the target of Russian troops, the last Ukrainian strong-hold in the strategic port city of Mariupol. 

Kametstal plant was the busiest enterprise of the Metinvest Group. As of the end of March, the plant was operating at 80% capacity approximately. Despite the tense situation, the Kametstal plant continues to upgrade equipment and improve production.

The Director of the Kametstal plant Dmytro Lyppa says "Azovstal became a symbol of our country, of our fight against the enemy. I am proud to work for Metinvest Holding which includes the Azovstal plant. Seeing that example, we do our job and that helps us to believe in the future. We believe in our victory."

However, the plant has been forced to reduce its yields due to logistical issues and high transportation costs.

"We are reducing production costs, but we are losing in competitiveness. We have three furnaces in this plant, but unfortunately only one of them is working today. We have reduced our output by 2/3. We are losing a lot of money" says Lyppa.

Moscow's blockade on Ukraine's Black Sea ports means Kamelstal's stock is piling up. Without means to export, bosses are now under pressure to find new transportation routes, reduce production and salvage profits.

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