Finland and Sweden are both metal industry strongholds
In both Finland and Sweden the metal industry is a major sector for national economies, being around 10% of the whole industry's turnover. It accounts for 25 000 jobs in Sweden and 16 000 in Finland. Both countries have a hundred year old tradition of forges, supported by active mining. Metallurgy and Steel industry have, thanks to steady support by active public and private research, reached a high level of specialisation on high quality products. This has also been connected with a significant environmental focus.
Despite a large number of local providers, the biggest companies are growingly dependent on foreign partners, both on their home markets and abroad to support their external growth.
85% of Sweden's steel production is exported, and at the same time more than 85% of all steel used in Sweden is imported. In 2008 the trade surplus for steel alone was of 26 000 M SEK, as exported products are usually high quality expensive products while import concern cheaper steel. Large Swedish steel producers include SSAB and Sandvik. Besides Outokumpu's expertise in high performance stainless steels, Rautaruukki is the second biggest Finnish steelmaker.
Non ferrous metallurgy has been mostly separated from steel companies, with Boliden retaining a regional leadership in nonferrous metal smelting while former Outokumpu Copper has been renamed Luvata and split from its former parent company.
Many groups (Outokumpu, Boliden, Ovako…) have production sites in both countries, following purchase of former competitors, recent mergers or reorganisations and numerous links exist between both markets.
Aluminium smelting is the biggest industry in Iceland after fishing. 3 smelters exist in Iceland, the last one has been opened by Alcoa in 2007 in Reyðarfjörður and the others, owned by Century Aluminium and Rio Tinto Alcan, have been expanded in the past few years. Yearly production was of 260 000 t in 2003, production capacity is now above 760 000 t/y. One more smelter is being built in Helguvik, to be owned by Century Aluminium through its subsidiary Norðural - it will be opened late 2010 with a production capacity of 250 000 t/year. There are ongoing feasibility study and talks between Alcoa and the Icelandic government for a new smelter (250-346 000 t/year) in Húsavik on the north coast. Besides Aluminium, Norwegian Elkem operates a foundry producing Ferrosilicon in Akranes.
Though Iceland is expected to be the Nordic country's leader in Aluminium production within few years, Norway retains this position as of 2009 with a production expected to be in the 1,3 Mt range.
Hydro, the world's 4th largest integrated aluminium producer, is by far the main producer (10 production and processing plants in the country) followed by Elkem Aluminium (from March 2009 100% owned by Alcoa). This industry has, as well as in Iceland, taken advantage of the large hydroelectric production. Norway is also among the world leaders in ferrosilicon and other silicon-metal: The biggest groups are Elkem and Fesil. There is also a limited steel industry involving companies like Celsa Steel Service but plans exist to build new ironworks - the biggest forecasted project (ongoing feasibility study in Tjeldbergodden near Trondheim) involves Swedish LKAB and Högänäs and Norwegian StatoilHydro.
Denmark has a strong tradition of metal processing. Examples include DanSteel, created from the restructuring of Danish Steel Works, formerly the only significant metal production facility of the country. Among the Baltic countries only Latvia has steel production (Liep?jas Metalurgs - being among the country's biggest industries). There are also few foundries, the biggest being in Lithuania. Metal processing is very strong in all 3 countries, and local producers are exporting mostly towards other European countries.