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11:39
UKRAINIAN IRON ORE MINES REDUCE OUTPUT IN 7 MTHS

Kyiv, August 4 (Interfax) - Most Ukrainian mines reduced iron ore production significantly in January-July, however the decline in the industry appears to be slowing.

Poltava Mining, the core asset of the London-listed Ferrexpo plc, cut commercial pellet production tentatively 9.7% year-on-year to 4.894 million tonnes, Ferrexpo said in a press release. Iron ore concentrate production fell 7.4% to 5.896 million tonnes, including 905,600 tonnes in July.

Crude iron ore production fell 3.6% year-on-year to 16.182 million tonnes, including 2.488 million tonnes in July.

In the seven months, Poltava Mining produced 2.531 million tonnes of pellets with Fe-content of 62% (down 19.6% year-on-year) and 2.363 million tonnes of pellets with Fe 65% (up 4.1%).

July pellet production came to 755,500 tonnes, including 396,700 tonnes of Fe-62% and 359,800 tonnes of Fe-65%.

Ferrexpo exported all but 610,200 tonnes of the pellets it produced in the seven months. Its main consumers are located in Austria, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, other European countries and China.

The Metinvest holding's Northern Mining and Beneficiation Plant, from Kryvy Rih, told Interfax that it reduced commercial pellet production 30.6% year-on-year in January-July to 4.689 million tonnes. Iron ore concentrate output fell 11.1% to 7.477 million tonnes.

Metinvest's Central Mining, also from Kryvy Rih, kept commercial pellet output level with a year previously at 1.296 million tonnes, however concentrate production plummeted by 35.5% to 2.489 million tonnes.

Metinvest also runs Inhulets Mining, which saw iron ore concentrate output plummet 36.7% year-on-year in January-July to 5.511 million tonnes.

Metinvest sells iron ore to its own steel mills and to other steel plants in Ukraine and Europe, as well as Asia.

Southern Mining, from Kryvy Rih, reduced iron ore concentrate production 33.8% year-on-year in January-July to 3.555 million tonnes. It produced just 544,000 tonnes of sinter ore, down 82.2% year-on-year. It was reported at the end of 2007 that Ukraine's Privat Group sold up to 50% of Southern Mining to Lanebrook Ltd, which owns Russia's Evraz Group. The Smart Group said it intended to keep control of around 50% of Southern Mining, via affiliates.

Evraz acquired almost all the shares in another Ukrainian ore producer, Suha Balka, at the end of 2007.

The drop in output at Ukraine's iron ore industry seems to be slowing slightly, as it does in the steel industry, if these results are compared with results for the first half of 2009. In the half, Poltava Mining, cut commercial pellet production tentatively 9.9% year-on-year to 4.139 million tonnes and iron ore concentrate production 8.3% to 4.991 million tonnes. Northern Mining reduced commercial pellet production 34.9% year-on-year in January-June to 3.754 million tonnes and iron ore concentrate output fell 13.4% to 6.256 million tonnes. Central Mining raised commercial pellet output, by 0.7% year-on-year in January-June to 1.092 million tonnes, however concentrate production plummeted by 36.4% to 2.104 million tonnes. Inhulets saw iron ore concentrate output plummet 41.3% year-on-year in January-June to 4.335 million tonnes, and Southern Mining reduced iron ore concentrate production 37.5% to 2.845 million tonnes, producing 397,000 tonnes of sinter ore, down 84.9% year-on-year.

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