New sheet mill opens at Mittal factory

Krakow’s Mittal steel mill, together with Gdansk’s shipyard, is one of the most important symbols of worker resistance against the Communist regime in Poland. For many years the mill has been treated as a historic monument and a true legend about which numerous documentaries, books and comics have been made. For many years Krakow?s metallurgical industry has awaited a major investment. Last week marked a new stage in the Mittal mill’s history.The opening of a new sheet mill in Krakow’s legendary Mittal steel plant is being hailed as the most technologically advanced investment in the European metallurgical industry in the past 20 years. The new facility was made possible thanks to the 2006 merger between Mittal and Arcelor, the world?s leaders in the steel industry.Authorities said the new mill cost about 1.24 bln zloty and will produce steel sheeting mainly for the automotive and household goods industries.Kazimierz Bujakowski, the deputy mayor of Krakow, was one of the many guests at the mill’s grand opening. Former President Lech Walesa, the ceremony’s special guest of honor, defined the investment as “a global success.”Authorities said the new mill will be able to produce 2.4 mln tons of metal sheeting annually for European and Asian markets with the potential to increase production to 5 mln tons annually.The huge facility will not only transform the steel mill itself but also spur development throughout the region. Among those who will gain from the massive investment are the mill’s numerous suppliers. And although the new Krakow mill is listed in ArcelorMittal’s official business plan as the last of its strategic investments in the area, there is already speculation about new ones to follow.ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel company with 320,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Its reveune last year was estimated at $88 bln. The Mittal Steel Poland division has its headquarters in Katowice, and the company will share its profits with the Silesian capital mainly. Krakow and Lesser Poland will have to settle for the profits from the estimated increase in the region?s exports.

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