The Daily Telegraph

Europe’s metal industry on edge of collapse as power costs surge

- By Tim Wallace

EUROPE’S metal industry faces an “existentia­l threat” from soaring energy bills which have already forced swathes of smelters to cut production or even shut down completely, bosses have warned Brussels.

Most aluminium producers have reduced output or closed in the face of eye-watering costs while every single zinc smelter has done the same, the chiefs of Eurometaux, which represents 49 industrial titans and business groups from across the continent, said.

Their warning comes as EU energy ministers prepare to discuss price caps at a summit tomorrow. The result could be “permanent deindustri­alisation from spiralling electricit­y and gas prices” without “emergency EU action” to save the day, Guy Thiran, the group’s director general, warned in a letter to Ursula von der Leyen and other EU leaders.

The letter written by Mr Thiran and Mikael Staffas, the Eurometaux president, said: “The winter ahead could deliver a decisive blow to many of our operations, and we call on EU and member state leaders to take emergency action to preserve their strategic electricit­y

‘It’s a life-or-death winter for many. Producers face electricit­y and gas costs 10 times higher than last year’

intensive industries and prevent permanent job losses.

“In the last month, several companies have had to announce indefinite closures and many more are on the brink ahead of a life-or-death winter for many operations. Producers face electricit­y and gas costs over 10 times higher than last year, far exceeding the sales price for their products.”

The expense of reopening means that “once a plant is closed it very often becomes a permanent situation”, they added. Potential solutions would include reducing the price of energy from fossil fuel-powered generators, loosening the state aid subsidy rules to support companies and capping taxes and charges on energy, the group said.

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