Before the full-scale invasion, Ferrexpo accounted for 10% of Japanese demand

Ferrexpo Mining Group, with assets in Ukraine and headquarters in Switzerland, plans to restore pre-war exports of premium iron ore pellets to Japan within 3 years.

This was stated by Lucio Genovese, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ferrexpo plc, in a recent interview with the Japanese national economic newspaper Nikkei.

«I think Ferrexpo will be able to return to Japan, but it will take one, two or three years,» Genovese told Nikkei on Tuesday during a visit to Tokyo.

The top executive emphasized that before the full-scale invasion, Ferrexpo accounted for 10% of Japan’s demand for iron ore pellets, but due to the blockade of ports as a result of Russian aggression, the company lost the ability to export to Japan.

Japan’s Nippon Steel, JFE Steel and Kobe Steel used to receive from 1 to 1.2 million tons of high-quality products from Ferrexpo. According to Genovese, over the decades of cooperation, Ferrexpo has built strong relationships with Japanese steelmakers and is committed to the country.

«In good times or difficult times, Japanese partners are always there for us. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them to supply products to their Japanese plants and possibly to Japanese investors’ plants in the Middle East or America when they are built,» he said.

The opportunity to return to the Japanese markets opened up for the company as the situation on the Black Sea improved and the Black Sea trade corridor stabilized.

«Until the end of 2023, we mostly supplied pellets to Europe by rail, as well as to the port of Izmail, and then exported them to Constanta via the Danube. But since the beginning of 2024, the Black Sea ports have opened. This means that we will be able to export more in 2024,» emphasized Lucio Genovese.

As GMK Center reported earlier, prior to the full-scale invasion, Ferrexpo produced about 12 million tons of iron ore pellets per year. Ferrexpo’s production declined to around 6 million tons in 2022 and 4 million tons in 2023. Ferrexpo is considered one of Ukraine’s leading exporters, accounting for 3% of Ukraine’s exports.