MADRID (Reuters) – Steel giant ArcelorMittal said on Tuesday it had shut down three steel plants in Spain and partially closed two others after a two-week strike by truckers cut off supplies of scrap metal, iron ore and equipment.
The company was forced to halt production at its Bergara plant in the Basque Country on March 16 and at its Legasa and Lesaka plants in Navarre on March 26 due to the strike, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Parts of the mills in Gijon and Aviles in Asturias have been closed due to lack of supplies, he added.
The other plants in Zaragoza, Bilbao and Sagunto, near Valencia, were operational on Tuesday but reported shortages of raw materials and semi-finished products from the shut down plants.
The strike is another blow to an energy-intensive industry already hit by high electricity costs, which have skyrocketed along with gas prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
ArcelorMittal had already halted production at its electric-powered steel mills in Spain during peak-demand hours when electricity prices rise, to cut costs it cannot fully pass on to customers.
Although the government made some concessions to truckers last week, the strike continued in several areas of the country on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen and Louise Heavens)
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