EBRD mulls loan to Ukraine graphite electrode maker

The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) is planning to lend USD26 million to a Ukrainian manufacturer of graphite electrodes for electric steel and electric-arc furnaces – Ukrgrafit. A memorandum from the bank said that the loan would fund reconstructing and modernising its manufacturing facilities and introducing energy efficient technologies. Ukrgrafit is the only Ukraine manufacturer of graphite electrodes for electric steel, electric-arc furnaces and other uses in the steel, aluminium, magnesium and titanium industries, noted the EBRD.

The loan plan has passed all reviews and will be assessed for final approval by the EBRD board on October 29.One key issue has been reducing the company’s environmental impact, with the bank memorandum noting:“Graphite electrodes production [is] associated with air emissions (SO2, dust, CO2, metals, fluoride, VOCs, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, etc.), solid waste and wastewater management, and land contamination.” As a result, bank officials have required Ukrgrafit to undertake occupational health and safety upgrades; complete a detailed ‘best available techniques’ assessment; and consider ways to reduce soil and groundwater pollution, as a condition of receiving the financing. In consequence, the project involves the pneumatic extraction of packing material between electrodes and bag filters to minimise dust emissions.