Ukraine's largest steelmaker Metinvest has doubled its iron-ore shipments this month to Europe despite fighting that has ravaged the country, its chief executive said.
The company typically used to ship 500 000 t to 600 000 t of iron-ore concentrate or pellets to Europe each month, but that has now "almost doubled" to more than a million tonnes in March, CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov told Reuters.
There was strong demand, but customers also wanted to show solidarity with Ukraine, he said.
Privately held Metinvest said in an emailed update on March 22 that its iron-ore assets were running at around 40% of their 2021 production volumes.
This ensured enough raw materials for its unit Kamet Steel, which was operating at about 60% of last year's volumes, while the remainder of iron-ore was being exported by rail, it added, without providing the volumes.
British-based consultancy MEPS International told Reuters it had heard of iron-ore shipments from Ukraine into Poland.
Metinvest, majority owned by Ukraine's richest man and business magnate Rinat Akhmetov, produces about 40-million tonnes of iron-ore a year.
Some Metinvest steel operations have been placed in "hot conservation mode", while others have been damaged in the conflict, the company's update said.
Metinvest produces around 13-million to 14-million tonnes of crude steel a year.