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JSW "rehabilitates" coking coal

The European Financial Congress, in which Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa participated for the first time, ended in Sopot. The EFC is an annual event for bankers and other financial institutions. What did JSW do among them?

The Company’s representatives, headed by Vice-President Robert Ostrowski, had the task of explaining to the broadest possible group of financiers what JSW's business is about and that coking coal will continue to be necessary for steel production for many years to come. All of this is to "rehabilitate" coking coal (in the eyes of the financial sector) which is often lumped together by potential investors and the financial market with steam coal, which they are reluctant to finance in the context of the Green Deal policy.

During the three-day congress, Mr. Ostrowski met with journalists from business magazines and with numerous representatives of banks and financial institutions. At the end there was a debate entitled “Green transition of the economy versus the mining industry and its financing” hosted by Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa. At the beginning of the debate Robert Ostrowski, JSW’s Vice-President for Financial Matters presented the nature and uniqueness of the Company's and JSW Group's operations, stressing that without JSW's products, green transformation will be impossible.

- Coal is not a uniform and universal concept. We mine coking coal, a key raw material in steel production, without which there would be no wind farms or electromobility. Steel is used in all the low carbon technologies being implemented. The attention of the financing sector cannot be directed to the end of the process, i.e. the last element of the supply chain, RES financing only. One has to look comprehensively at the entire chain. Climate goals without steel will not be achievable, or will be difficult to achieve - Robert Ostrowski argued.

Then the JSW Vice-President mentioned that JSW is a company that also cares about environmental protection. He presented the assumptions of JSW's environmental strategy until 2030, under which JSW is to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent and achieve climate neutrality in 2050. The goals are to be achieved mainly by reducing methane emissions, which account for 74 percent of JSW’s carbon footprint. Although the company is already a world leader in methane extraction, it wants to be even better by increasing the extraction of methane to 50 percent and utilize up to 95 percent of it. The increased volumes of captured methane will be redirected to newly-installed co-generation gas engines and will boost power production to 60 MWe starting in 2025. JSW KOKS also executes an investment project which will result in a significant reduction of coke oven gas emissions. In the Radlin Coking Plant, a 28 MWe co-generation unit fired with coke oven gas is under construction. The Strategy also provides for the construction of photovoltaic farms with the combined capacity of 110 MWp by 2028. Mr. Ostrowski also highlighted the elements of the Company’s financial strategy.

- Our strategy provides for building sustainable finances - we want to base our financing structure for development on long-term sources such as loans and green bonds.

After Robert Ostrowski's presentation, a lively debate began.

- Today's presentation did a lot of good for the market. It is very important to build awareness of what JSW does - said Andrzej Kopyrski, Managing Director of the Investment Division of the Polish Development Fund (PFR) during the debate. - JSW’s ecological transformation fits in with PFR’s objectives. We declare our readiness to support the investments - added Andrzej Kopyrski. 

- Coking coal is on EU's list of strategic raw materials. It is needed by the European Union to achieve the goals of the European Green Deal. The EU needs coking coal, and its extraction needs financial inputs - said Rebecca Lentini, Secretary General of the Critical Raw Materials Association in Brussels, during the debate.

Another participant in the panel debate - Andrzej Mikosz, Partner from Taylor Wessing law firm, pointed out that JSW is wrongly being "bludgeoned" with the words "coal" and "decarbonization".

- JSW produces coking coal, which is necessary for the production of steel. Demand for steel is not expected to fall until 2050, and then it will fall back to today's levels - said Andrzej Mikosz. 

Jerzy Kwieciński, Vice-President of Bank Pekao S.A.'s Management Board, supervising the Corporate Banking, Markets and Investment Banking Division, also took part in the JSW debate entitled "Green transition of the economy versus the mining industry and its financing", and pointed out that coking coal is a critical raw material in the EU.

- In our bank we understand perfectly well that coking coal is essential for steel production, and we see the possibility to finance investment development. But we also see that in the financial market, anything associated with coal is not welcome. We must say loudly that coking coal is a critical raw material - said Jerzy Kwieciński. 

The debate organized by JSW, although one of the last ones during the Congress, enjoyed great interest.

- All of our planned activities have yielded results. We were able to clarify that the coking coal and coke we produce has nothing to do with the power sector. Our coal is an essential raw material for steel production, without which further energy transition is impossible. Whether we like it or not, steel and, consequently, coking coal, is essential to this process. I am sure that after this year's European Financial Congress Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa will be perceived by the financial sector as a company whose development financing and investments are worth getting involved in - summarized Robert Ostrowski, JSW’s Vice-President for Financial Matters, on JSW's participation in the Congress.

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