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

The ceremony marks the completion of Hyundai Steel’s No.1 blast furnace, which has an annual capacity of four million tons.

The company is aiming to complete its No.2 blast furnace by early 2011 to reach a capacity of eight million tons a year.

Chung Mong-Koo, chairman of the Hyundai Automotive Group, said: ‘Through Hyundai Steel’s substantial investment of 5.84 trillion won [approximately GBP3bn], 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.

‘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,’ he added.

Hyundai Steel is a steelmaker of electric-arc furnace (EAF), which melts steel scrap to produce products that are mostly used for construction purposes.

It embarked on this project in 2006 to build blast furnaces, which use iron ore and coking coal to produce high-quality steel for cars, ships and electronics.

The plant is located in Dangjin, located about 123km south west of Seoul.

The No.1 blast furnace, with an inner volume of 5,250m3, a maximum width of 17m and height of 110m, is a large furnace showcasing a variety of engineering technologies.

The blast furnace employs environmentally friendly technologies.

The environmental aspects of the integrated steel mill at Dangjin have been the main focus from the beginning.

The latest emission control methods will be incorporated into the design of the steel plant.

An encapsulated raw material processing facility prevents dust from the iron ore and coking coal from polluting the nearby communities.

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 effect equivalent to creating about 171,000 jobs (93,000 related to construction and 78,000 to operations).

When the final eight-million-ton-a-year mill is completed, it will generate sales equivalent to about 1.7 trillion won.

Owing to a lack of crude steel production capacity, South Korea has to import more than 20 million tons of semi-finished steel products – mainly from Japan and China – annually.

In 2008, South Korea imported about 28.9 million tons of steel products, or about 52.3 per cent of its crude steel production capacity.

The operation of Hyundai Steel’s new blast furnace is expected to alleviate the import of steel products from foreign countries.

Hyundai Heavy Industries

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