PRISTINA: Kosovo‘s sole ferro-nickel producer Newco Ferronikeli said on Friday it was shutting down production because of the increase in energy prices.”Due to the continuous increase of electricity prices in European markets, the company NewCo Ferronikeli is forced to temporarily stop production,” the company, which is owned by Albani’s Balfin Group, said in a statement.
It said the halt in production would last until prices “normalise”.
With production of 7,000 tonnes of ferro-nickel a year, NewCo Ferronikeli is among the biggest employers in Kosovo with 800 employees, and also one of the biggest exporters in the Balkan country.It said it would pay its workers 50 percent of their wages for the next month, making up the difference when electricity prices normalise.
At around 6 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, Kosovo has one of lowest electricity prices in Europe. More than 95 percent of its energy is produced by its two ageing coal-fired power plants.
But big consumers including NewCo Ferronikeli are obliged to buy electricity on the open market.
In neighbouring Albania the government has declared a state of emergency and is expected to announce a plan on Saturday for coping with the energy crisis.
“This decision will give the opportunity to the government to interfere with financial instruments,” Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama said at a press conference on Friday.
Around 95 percent of Albania’s production capacity is from hydro but it is heavily dependent on imported electricity due to a lack of rain and increasing demand every year.