Chinese Engineers Are Keeping Russia’s Metal Furnaces Firing (Bloomberg News – January 27, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — Magnitogorsk, in the Ural mountains, was developed as a symbol of Soviet industrial might and its capacity for economic modernization. Today, a new, 75 billion-ruble (roughly $840 million) coking plant in the steel town is being built by a Chinese engineering giant and hundreds of Chinese workers.

The contract between Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works PJSC, known as MMK, and state-owned Sinosteel Engineering & Technology Co. was signed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and links between the two predate that. But since Chinese engineers and builders began arriving in large numbers to speed up construction last year, the project has been trumpeted by officials on both sides as emblematic of closer ties.

A hefty investment when compared to most past Chinese activity in Russia, Magnitogorsk is just one of dozens of examples from across the country of Beijing’s engineers and machines keeping Russian heavy industry alive. It’s a trend that owes much to China’s technological prowess, but also to overcapacity at home and to Moscow’s urgent need to keep producing the iron and steel its wartime economy requires.

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