The port town of Mariupol belongs among the most industrial towns in former Soviet union.
The Mariupol Ilyich Metallurgical Combine, one of two huge mills in the town, was founded in 1896 after pair of American businessmen Rothstein and Smith were given permission from the Russian government to establish the "Nikopol-Mariupol Mining and Metallurgical Society". Construction of first blast furnace began only one year later. The plant focused mainly on the production of tubes and pipes in the beginning.
Convenient location providing direct supply of coal from the North (Donbas), iron ore from the West (Krivbas) and clear access to the sea made Mariupol one of the most important metallurgical centers of old Russia soon.
In 1920´s the works were nationalized and renamed after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Since 1941 the production strictly served military needs, including armor plates for the tanks T-34.
As the battlefront was moving towards Donbas, a significant part of the equipment was dismantled and sent to the Urals and Siberia. Blast furnaces and steel mills have been cooled down with uncertain future.
After the liberation of Mariupol in 1944 the production was restarted immediately. The largest expansion followed during 1954 -1969. New hot strip mill was put into operation in 1960, steelworks were expanded by BOF shop and the world largest (900 tonnes) open-hearth furnace was built in 1964. In 1983 Vítkovice Machinery installed new heavy plate mill the first continuous casting machine was launched in 1993.
Since 2006 the Ilyich Iron and Steel works are part of Metinvest Holding owned by Ukrainian entrepreneur Rinat Akhmetov.
Keywords: donbas, ukrajina, ukraine, mariupol, ilyich iron and steel works, železárny, mmk im ilyicha, vladimír iljič lenin, ocelárna, steelworks, ironworks, hüttenwerk, industriální fotografie, industrial photography, vysoká pec, hochofen, blast furnace
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