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In Veitsch, Styria, all efforts are currently being made to upgrade the infrastructure of the local magnesite plant. To become independent of the impending gas shortage, RHI Magnesita is investing in alternative energies and its own gas reserves. Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer was personally invited for an on-site inspection to get a better overview of the plant and RHI Magnesita’s current investments.
Vienna/St. Barbara im Mürztal-Veitsch – RHI Magnesita welcomed Chancellor Nehammer in its plant in Veitsch, where more than 300 employees work under high pressure to transition to alternative energies. “Without energy, we cannot manufacture refractory products. And without refractory products, there can be no steel, glass or other production. That also means no cell phones, houses or e-cars. We are at the forefront of all industrial operations and therefore have a special responsibility,” explained Stefan Borgas, CEO of RHI Magnesita.
Securing Austria as an industrial location
“We have already managed to store more than 100 GWh of gas ourselves, which we no longer need to import from Russia,” he continued. The company is now investing more than €7 million into new facilities to become independent of Russian natural gas. For the Veitsch plant alone, this involves almost €1 million.
“Pandemics, inflation, the war in Ukraine, uncertainties on the energy market: these global conditions are a massive challenge for domestic companies. Innovation and adaptability are needed more than ever. But they also need to take precautionary measures and look into the future. I found all this during my visit to RHI Magnesita’s plant in Veitsch today. By investing in alternative energies and its own gas reserves, the company is taking an important step towards independence and setting a good example,” highlighted Chancellor Nehammer.
While exploring the plant’s tunnel and annealing furnaces – with temperatures reaching 1800 °C and more – the effects of rising energy prices were also discussed. “We need a lot more green power – and this was supposed to be done yesterday. The development of wind farms, for example, must progress much faster. We are running out of time,” urged Stefan Borgas.
During the conversations with the employees on site, Chancellor Nehammer also took the time to discuss the topics of working hours, automation and the shortage of skilled workers.
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Watch the video reportage here.