Poland: Europe’s largest coking coal and coke producer JSW declares force majeure


  • Impact from force majeure yet to be defined
  • JSW supplies ArcelorMittal, which reduced demand
  • JSW produced 10.2 mil mt of coking coal in 2019

Poland-based Jastrzębska Społka Weglowa (JSW), the biggest European coking coal and metallurgical coke producer, said it has declared force majeure to customers effective Thursday due to the spread of the coronavirus impacting operations.

JSW said in a statement late Thursday it had detailed to customers potential disruptions to shipments which may affect concluded commercial agreements, adding that it was unable to provide further details at this stage. JSW supplies solid fuels to steel groups in Central and Eastern Europe including ArcelorMittal, which operates several coke plants in Poland, as well to customers in Germany and elsewhere. JSW also supplies coke to ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India’s Hazira plant in western India.

Many steel groups have reduced demand for raw materials on lower steel orders and reduced operating schedules. ArcelorMittal’s procurement group declared force majeure to raw materials suppliers last month. JSW is the largest coking coal miner in the EU and produces thermal coal for power generation.

With mines and coke plants close to the European steel industry, European met coal producers such as JSW and OKD have highlighted the advantage of lower emissions and reduced working cashflow in using regional products rather than imports from Australia, Canada and the US. In 2019, JSW produced 14.8 million mt of coal in total, including 10.2 million mt of coking coal and 3.2 million mt of met coke.

The spread of COVID-19 and related limitations and measures taken by the governments of countries and businesses around the world “may have a direct impact on the financial standing of the company and of the JSW Group,” JSW said.

“As at the date of preparing this report, it is not possible to specify the impact of this decision on the business, financial and operational standing and prospects of the company and of the JSW Group,” it said.

Europe has seen weaker met coke demand due to low steel margins persisting from 2019, limiting productivity increases.