ArcelorMittal steelworks in Gijon

ArcelorMittal idles three plants in Spain after truckers strike disrupts supplies

MADRID (Reuters) – Steel giant ArcelorMittal said on Tuesday it had idled three steel mills in Spain and partly closed two others after a two-week truckers strike disrupted supplies of scrap metal, iron ore and equipment.

The company was forced to suspend output at its Bergara mill, in the Basque Country, on March 16 and at its Legasa and Lesaka mills, in Navarra, on March 26 as a result of the strike, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Parts of the mills in Gijon and Aviles, in Asturias, were closed for lack of supplies, he added.

The other plants located in Zaragoza, Bilbao and Sagunto, near Valencia, were operating on Tuesday but reported a lack of raw materials and semi-processed products from the idled plants.

The strike is another blow to an energy-intensive industry that was already hit by high electricity costs that have surged in tandem with gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ArcelorMittal had already halted output during hours of peak demand, when power prices spike, at its electric-powered steel mills in Spain to curb costs, which it cannot fully pass on to customers.

Even though the government made some concessions to truckers last week, the strike continued on Tuesday in several areas of the country.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen and Louise Heavens)