Hyundai Steel Starts Operation of its No. 1 Blast Furnace

Published on January 6th, 2010

Hyundai Steel Co., part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, held a blast furnace lighting ceremony today at its new integrated steel mill in Dangjin, South Korea, to start the operation of its first blast furnace.

Over 600 distinguished guests and staff attended the ceremony, including the Chairman of the Hyundai Automotive Group, Mr. Chung Mong-Koo, and Mr. Marc Solvi, CEO of Luxembourg-based Paul Wurth S.A., which oversaw the engineering of the blast furnace. The ceremony marks the completion of Hyundai Steel’s No. 1 blast furnace, which has an annual capacity of 4-million tons. The company is aiming to complete its No. 2 blast furnace by early 2011, to reach a total capacity of 8 million tons a year.

“Through Hyundai Steel’s substantial investment of 5.84 trillion won (approx. US$5 billion), we are constructing the most advanced, eco-friendly integrated steel mill in the world, which is also in line with the government’s green growth policy,” Chairman Chung said at the ceremony. “The new steel mill will give our automotive group a competitive edge by allowing us to secure and develop our own supply of high-quality steel, while contributing to the national economy at the same time.”

“What we see starting up today, is the largest ever blast furnace we designed, and it features the best available technologies and solutions.” said Mr. Solvi of Paul Wurth. “It is really to our great appreciation that we have been given the chance to design and to carry out a large share in building one of the most modern steelmaking facilities.”

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Hyundai Steel’s First Blast Furnace

Hyundai Steel is currently the world’s second-largest EAF (Electric-Arc Furnace) steelmaker, which melts steel scrap to produce products that are mostly used for construction purposes. It embarked on this massive project to build blast furnaces in 2006, which use iron ore and coking coal to produce high-quality steel for cars, ships and electronics.

Hyundai Steel said the construction of the blast furnace was completed on-schedule, finished in just three years since the groundbreaking ceremony, which is one of the shortest periods worldwide for construction of such a large furnace. The plant is located in Dangjin, located about 123 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

The No.1 blast furnace, with an inner volume of 5,250, maximum width of 17m and height of 110 m, is a large furnace showcasing state-of-the- art engineering technologies. It is expected to have quality and price competitiveness when the operation gets into full swing.

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An Eco-Friendly Steel Mill

More importantly, the No.1 blast furnace employs the latest environmentally-friendly technologies, reflecting the eco-friendly management philosophy of Chairman Chung, who personally visited the construction site at least two to three times a week.

The environmental aspects of the integrated steel mill at Dangjin have been the main focus from the beginning. This is inherently different from other plants where environmental facilities are installed only after the completion of the factory. The most state-of-the-art emission control methods have been incorporated into the design of the steel plant, allowing it to co-exist in harmony with the local community. A prime example of this commitment is the encapsulated raw material processing facility, which prevents dust from the iron ore and coking coal from polluting the nearby communities.

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Contribution to Economy

Hyundai Steel’s integrated steel mill is expected to bring a positive impact on the Korean economy by creating more jobs and business opportunities with small- and medium-sized enterprises.

According to local research data, the Dangjin steel mill will have an economic affect equivalent to creating about 171,000 jobs (93,000 related to the construction and 78,000 operations). In addition, when the final 8 million ton-a-year mill is completed, it will generate sales equivalent to about 1.7 trillion won the small- and medium-sized firms.

South Korea is the world’s biggest consumer of steel per person. However, due to the lack of crude steel production capacity, the country has to import over 20 million tons of semi-finished steel products mainly from Japan and China annually. In the year 2008, South Korea imported about 28.9 million tons of steel products, or about 52.3 percent of its crude steel production capacity. The operation of Hyundai Steel’s new blast furnace is expected to greatly alleviate the import of steel products from foreign countries.

text & pix: Hyundai Motor

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