NEW YORK Norwegian ferrosilicon producer Elkem AS will shut down a furnace at its Salten operations on Dec. 15 due to deteriorating economic conditions and weak demand in the European marketplace, the company said Thursday.
The furnace will be modified to enable a switch from ferrosilicon to silicon production by summer 2013, according to Elkem.
The company is also planning to take another furnace offline in the first quarter of next year if market prices remain at current levels.
Elkem has already idled a furnace at its Bremanger works in November, and it will remain offline until market conditions improve, according to the statement.
In total, the company plans to cut about 15,000 tonnes of ferrosilicon production capacity per quarter, according to the statement.
The current ferrosilicon price is at a non-sustainable level. With the current market price for power, it is better to shut down furnaces than produce ferrosilicon, Thomas Fredrik-Næss, vice president of sales and marketing for ferrosilicon, said in a statement. Domestic ferrosilicon prices recently softened to between 87 and 89 cents per pound compared with 96 to 97 cents per pound in February.