Read our exclusive interview with Gerdau

Ahead of his presentation at next month's Eurocoke Summit, we spoke to Guillherme Liziero Ruggio da Silva, Technical Manager - Coke Plant at Gerdau, about cost reduction, CO2 emissions, future industry opportunities, stumbling blocks and more.

Q1. You are going to be delivering some insights from Gerdau on cost reduction and CO2 emissions - can you give us a sneak peak of what you will be sharing?

I will share the development for the use of charcoal fines, tire and petcoke in the Gerdau coal blend. There will be a focus on the use of alternative materials for cost reduction and CO2 emissions.

Q2. What changes are you seeing in the way the steelmakers are running plants and what do they need from the rest of the supply chain to make more cost-effective steel?

In the scenario of overcapacity and depressed prices, the search for competitiveness is tied to the process of innovation and application of the concepts of Industry 4.0.

Steel mills are constantly trying to reduce costs with inventories, releasing cash flow as much as possible. In some situations, this 'fine tuning' results in unnecessary exposure for a prompt/immediate availabilty of material, to it not always being available, due to the constant constraints on the coal supply chain, on both the seller's and on the buyers' side.

Q3. What do you see the most significant shifts in coal, coke and steel in the next 12-24 months?

We will continue to experience high price volatility. From the mix point of view, it is likely that there will be expansion of alternative suppliers, such as Colombia and Mozambique.

In this same sense, considering that at current price levels almost all met coal operations are profitable, in spite of high price volatility; will miners invest in new coal projects or significant optimisation of current operations, bringing (again) a scenario of oversupplied market as faced between 2011 and beginning of 2015?

Q4. What do you feel are the biggest stumbling blocks for the industry at the moment?

In Brazil, the main obstacle is the political-economic instability that directly affects the consumption of steel in the domestic market.

It is also important to note the difficulty of incorporating the digital concept into the factory floor.

The effectiveness and sustainability of the Chinese policies for mining (iron ore and coal) and steel production cuts, based on safety and environmental regulations, will always play a big role in this discussion and will also allow (or not) a “fast track” market balance perspective for supply and demand of steel and its raw materials.

Q5. Why do you feel it's important for people to attend Eurocoke Summit 2018?

People should attend the Eurocoke Summit to Search for technical-commercial opportunities that can contribute to the competitiveness of the companies represented in the Congress.

Guillherme will be presenting as part of the Increasing Profitability through Plant Operations and Maintenance session at Eurocoke next month. Other speakers in the session include Tata Steel, POSCO and Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal.

Book your ticket now to join them and hear their insights!