Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the enterprise has transferred a significant part of its capacities to conservation mode. Currently, there are no workers left at the factory
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Avdiivka Coke Plant (ACP), a part of Metinvest Group, was considered the largest coke plant in Europe. Almost all of the plant’s products were supplied to Ukrainian steelmakers that use coke to make pig iron.
In 2021, Avdiivka Coke Plant produced 2.45 million tons of coke, which is 27.7% of the total coke production in Ukraine. Avdiivka Coke Plant operated 9 coke oven batteries with a total production capacity of 6.8 million tons per year. The plant’s enrichment plant was capable of processing 6.4 million tons of raw coal per year.
Before the war, Avdiivka Coke Plant employed about 4,000 people. The company employed about 11.5% of Avdiivka’s population, which in 2021 amounted to 34.9 thousand people. ACP was in fact the main industrial enterprise on which the life of the city depended. In particular, the plant operated a combined heat and power plant that burned coke oven gas and thus provided Avdiivka residents with heat at the lowest tariffs in Ukraine.
Even before the start of the war, ACP was repeatedly subjected to massive shelling. Since 2014, more than 320 shells have exploded on the plant’s territory, twelve employees were killed, two on the job.
Due to the proximity to the frontline and logistical problems, the plant had to be mothballed at the end of February 2022 to preserve its facilities and the lives of its employees. In January-February 2022, the plant produced about 360 thousand tons of products.
After February 24, Russian troops intensified shelling of the city, including Avdiivka Coke Plant, in the city. On March 13, the plant was hit by a massive missile attack that damaged the plant’s CHP plant. As the plant is the only heat supplier in the city, specialists restored the damaged CHP plant in 3 days to save people from a humanitarian catastrophe.
In April, a shelling damaged a large part of the plant’s workshops, with no casualties. In May, a Russian missile hit a passenger bus with plant workers who had just finished their shift. The tragedy claimed the lives of 10 workers, and another 20 were seriously injured. The injured workers were ensuring the plant’s capacity was maintained during the shutdown period.
Part of the plant’s equipment was moved to Kametstal to launch coke production in safer conditions. In January 2023, the relocated equipment was put into operation at the new location.
«Avdiivka Coke Plant has been in cold shutdown since May 2022. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Metinvest has evacuated a significant part of the equipment and vehicles to other enterprises of the Group. Employees of the plant were also evacuated. Around 200 specialists of the plant, together with the acting CEO Yuriy Ktsinenko, remained at the plant. They repaired equipment damaged by enemy shells, extinguished fires after the attacks (as special equipment and emergency services have been absent in the city for more than a year) and generally supported the plant,» Metinvest’s press service said.
Recently, the situation for the plant and the city has deteriorated significantly, as the Russian occupiers have renewed their hopes of capturing the city by bombarding it with missiles. In late September, Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s municipal military administration, said in a telethon that Russians were shelling the plant daily with various types of weapons. As a result, the plant suffered significant damage. According to him, Avdiivka Coke Plant will have to be rebuilt.
On November 7, 2023, according to Musa Magomedov, a member of parliament from the district, the last 16 employees who were responsible for the plant’s conservation left the plant due to the growing danger and significant damage.
«We cannot comment on the extent and level of damage to the plant because of the intensified hostilities around Avdiivka,» Metinvest said.
As a result of the Russian war, Metinvest Group and Ukraine’s economy are losing the third major mining and metals enterprise. In the first half of 2023, Metinvest produced 648 thousand tons of coke, compared to 1.07 million tons in 2022 and 2.36 million tons in 2021. Thus, as a result of the suspension of coke production at Azovstal and Avdiivka Coke Plant, the Ukrainian steel industry lost more than 1.7 million tons of coke production.
Currently, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhkoks, Yuzhkoks and Kametstal continue to produce coke in Ukraine, but in limited quantities.