Norwegian silicon and ferro-alloy producer Elkem has issued force majeure letters to customers affected by strikes at four of its plants in Norway, where production has now stopped or been scaled back.
The strike began on 15 August and remains unresolved as the federation of Norwegian industry (Norsk Industri) and trade union Industri Energi were not able to conclude mediation on an agreement for the electrochemical industry.
Production at the four affected plants — Salten, Rana, Thamshavn and Fiskaa — has now stopped, with the exception of one furnace at Rana and one at Thamshavn. A stoppage planned at a Salten furnace has been pushed back by a week.
Elkem's plants at Bremanger and Bjolvefossen are not taking part in the strike.
Elkem's ferro-silicon production capacity is around 220,000 t/yr, of which Rana accounts for around 90,000 t/yr. Salten and Thamshavn mainly produce silicon, while Fiskaa produces specialty carbon products, such as electrode paste.
Elkem did not respond to a request for comment about the effect the strikes will have on production. Last week, a spokesperson said the impact would depend on the duration of the strike.
European end-users are monitoring the situation closely, weighing the potential impact to supply against lower steel production quotas. The consensus is that weaker demand side fundamentals are taking precedent.
But with record electricity prices on the continent, the strikes could pile additional pressure on supply chains in the fourth quarter.
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