Cement plant rescued by Putin expects to stall ahead of one Russia congress

Cement plant rescued by Putin expects to stall ahead of one Russia congress
Published: 20 November 2009

Enterprises in the Pikalevo production complex in Leningrad Region, which stopped working for six months forcing the town residents to block off a federal highway in the summer, may again stop production precisely by the time of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s arrival in St Petersburg for the 11th One Russia party congress this weekend.

After a six month-long halt to production at Pikalevo enterprises, due to an inability to agree on prices for raw materials on 2 June, the city’s residents blocked off a federal highway. Two days later Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew in to Pikalevo and made the owners sign temporary three-month contracts and resume production.

"The supplier of raw materials for the Pikalevo production complex - the company Apatit - has unilaterally halted supplies of nepheline concentrate to BazelTsement-Pikalevo. Existing supplies of raw materials will only be sufficient for a few days, after which production at the Pikalevo production complex will be stopped. The actions of Apatit are aimed at destroying the Pikalevo chain and cancelling out the work of the government to normalise the situation in Pikalevo," says a statement from BazelTsement’s press service.

"BazelTsement-Pikalevo is methodically and deliberately breaking down the process of talks which is aimed at restoring the work of the Pikalevo complex," the press service of FosArgo (which owns Apatit) has responded, accusing the leadership of BazelTsement-Pikalevo of a "lack of flexibility" and "an absolute unwillingness to move towards compromises with its partners".

FosArgo thinks that this situation was created deliberately by the owners of BazelTsement-Pikalevo.
"BazelTsement-Pikalevo has consciously failed to take the opportunity to build up necessary supplies of nepheline concentrate before 16 November, the FosArgo company thinks, [as well as that] BazelTsement-Pikalevo’s actions are aimed at creating another spiral of tension around the Pikalevo complex and are a form of pressure on all participants in the production chain," says its press release.

BazelTsement’s press secretary, Svetlana Andreyeva, said that the Pikalevo plants have already been forced to cut production.

"Our enterprise in Pikalevo is currently working using storage supplies of nepheline concentrate, and in order to conserve raw materials and prevent a total halt in production, yesterday on 18 November we stopped one of the furnaces in the alumina unit," Andreyeva said.

She added that it was planned to shut down another furnace tomorrow.