Closed in July this year due to the pandemic, a steel plant in the United States, owned by the Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, mined bitcoins in one of the company's warehouses. This is stated in message Radio Liberty.
Kolomoisky, one of the most influential people in Ukraine with a net worth of $ 1.1 billion, is the former owner of PrivatBank, the former largest private bank in the country. He was also the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region until 2015.
Its CC Metals & Alloys steel mill in Calvert City, Kentucky has been hit by restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic and announced a temporary closure this summer.
The only thing that still works on the huge territory of the plant is the production of bitcoins, the employees of the enterprise say. One of the warehouses of the enterprise is now filled with computers that mine cryptocurrency while the main production of the factory is idle.
“Most of the people who were fired in July did not even look for a new job,” one of the workers told RFE /RL. After all, everyone hoped that the plant, as usual, would soon start working again.
When the production of ferroalloys could recover, it is not clear, say both current and former workers. It seems strange that last month the union leaders of the plant announced that in December most of those who still remained in work will also be fired.
It seems that the temporary dip in ferroalloy demand caused by the pandemic is not the only problem looming over the CCMA.
Kolomoisky and his partner Gennady Bogolyubov bought the plant in 2011 for $ 188 million as part of a plan to develop their metallurgical business in the United States, which has grown to seven plants in five states.
Optima Specialty Steel Holding Company filed for bankruptcy in 2016, and ownership of the plant passed to another company, Georgian American Alloys, whose beneficiaries are Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov.
In addition, the US Department of Justice this year accused Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov of buying real estate and businesses in the US for money misappropriated from Privatbank from 2008 to 2016. Ukrainian businessmen deny all charges.
CCMA is one of three steel mills in the United States that produce ferrosilicon, an iron and silicon alloy used primarily in steel making to increase its strength. The company's three melting furnaces have a nominal capacity of 100,000 tons per year.
Last year, the plant produced an estimated 70,000 tonnes, representing about 40 percent of all US ferrosilicon production and about 20 percent of US consumption.
Like reported , the metals industry in North America is booming today. Steel prices in the US almost doubled in six months, demonstrating record dynamics for the market. The spot price is the highest since November 2018 and is up 82% from an annual low of $ 450 per tonne recorded in mid-August.