[Gwangyang fifth furnace]
South Korea’s steelmaking giant Posco has completed renovation of its fifth blast furnace to bump up annual capacity by 10 percent at the world’s largest steelmaking complex in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province.
The company announced on Tuesday that it restarted operation of the fifth blast furnace at its Gwangyang mill after completing four-month repair works. Following the renovation, the fifth furnace is now 5,500 cubic meters, 40 percent larger than the previous size of 3,950 cubic meters, and capable of turning out 13,700 tons of molten metal a day. It has also raised the overall capacity of the entire Gwangyang plant by 10 percent from 21 million tons to 23 million tons per annum, which is enough to make 23 million units of cars, further cementing its position as the largest single steel plant complex in the world. The world’s second largest steel plant is Posco’s Pohang complex with annual production of 15 million tons.
The steelmaker claimed that the latest repair works have boosted the efficiency at the fifth furnace more than 30 percent by using environmentally-friendly equipment. Posco CEO Gwon Oh-joon said on Tuesday that the world’s largest steel plant Gwnagyang Steelworks should help enhance the competitiveness of Posco.
Operating and maintaining a large-scale furnace that is bigger than 5,000 cubic meters require advanced technologies and long-term expertise. There are only 11 blast furnaces that are larger than 5,500 cubic meters in the world, and Posco has four large-sized furnaces including the world’s biggest Gwangyang first furnace (6,000 ㎥), Gwangyang fourth furnace (5,500 ㎥), Gwangyang fifth furnace (5,500 ㎥) and Pohang fourth furnace (5,600 ㎥).
Major global steelmaking companies are capable of producing 1.9 to 2.0 tons of molten iron per cubic meter a day on average while Posco can produce 2.2 tons per cubic meter a day. Boasting the world’s best competitiveness, Posco’s steel mills at Gwangyang and Pohang run around the clock, according to the company.
By Park Yong-beom
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]