Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Second blast furnace fired up at ThyssenKrupp CSA in Brazil

Blast furnace 2 at the ThyssenKrupp CSA steel mill in Santa Cruz/Rio de Janeiro state was fired up on schedule and without problems on Thursday evening, December 16, 2010 - five months after blast furnace 1, which is now producing over 6,500 metric tons of top-quality hot metal per day, close to its full capacity. "I expect the ramp-up of our second blast furnace to be just as successful and that next fiscal year the plant will be able to operate at its full capacity," said Edwin Eichler, the ThyssenKrupp AG Executive Board member responsible for the Materials division. "This further milestone in our forward strategy will allow us to reach our objective of generating a profit in the Steel Americas business area in 2012/2013."

The startup phase for blast furnace 2 was completed after only two days, and processing of the hot metal into slabs began on Saturday. INEA, the Rio de Janeiro state environmental authority, and independent experts were closely involved in the startup and ramp-up. No objections were raised. There were also no complaints from residents.

In addition to blast furnace 1, the two 330 t converters have been in operation since early September and early November. The first slab was produced on September 7. Slabs from Brazil have now arrived in Duisburg and Mobile/Alabama; once full capacity is reached, 3 million tons of slabs per year will be shipped to Alabama and 2 million tons to the German processing plants. "We weren't expecting the material to be of such excellent quality in the first phase," said Eichler. "The slabs even met the high requirements of tinplate production."

The first blast furnace at ThyssenKrupp CSA in Brazil was fired up in July 2010. When starting up new blast furnaces it is unavoidable and standard procedure worldwide for the hot metal produced in the initial phase to be cast into cooling basins where it solidifies. ThyssenKrupp notified the Brazilian licensing authorities of this in advance. During casting temporary dust emissions occur. At no time was there any danger to the health of employees or residents. Since the startup of the first converter in the new steel mill all emissions have been within the limits set by the Brazilian environmental authorities. ThyssenKrupp CSA is in close contact with the environmental authorities on this. The company regrets the temporary nuisance caused to residents by the graphite dust.

The Rio de Janeiro public prosecutor opened investigations following complaints by residents and filed charges at the beginning of December. If the court in Santa Cruz allows the charge, ThyssenKrupp CSA will use the opportunity to disprove the allegations.

ThyssenKrupp plans to achieve profitable growth in key international markets of the future. A central element of this is the expansion of the company's core carbon flat steel business. This year, global crude steel production will once again reach record levels with an output of around 1.4 billion metric tons. Around 200 to 250 million tons of this is premium flat carbon steel. ThyssenKrupp is focused on this segment, and this is where its strength lies. "This strength is based on three factors: Quality leadership, innovation leadership and cost leadership. The two major projects in Alabama and Brazil will increase this strength even further," explained Eichler.

With an investment budget of €5.2 billion, the new integrated iron and steel mill built by ThyssenKrupp in the state of Rio de Janeiro is the biggest industrial investment project in Brazil in the past ten years and the first major steel mill to be built in the country since the mid-1980s. The Brazilian iron ore producer Vale holds a share of 26.87% in the subsidiary ThyssenKrupp CSA Siderúrgica do Atlântico. The project includes the construction of a state-of-the-art plant complex with its own port terminal for importing coal and exporting the slabs, raw material handling facilities, coke plant, sinter plant, two blast furnaces, a BOF melt shop and a power plant.

Following a three-year construction period, the new steelmaking and processing plant of ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA in the southeastern USA was officially opened on Friday, December 10. "With the startup of the plant in Alabama and the launch of the steel mill in Brazil in the summer, ThyssenKrupp is entering a new dimension of its history," said Dr. Ekkehard Schulz, Chief Executive Officer of ThyssenKrupp AG, at the opening ceremony in Calvert. "These two projects are the cornerstones of our transatlantic growth strategy: We plan to achieve profitable growth in international markets of the future. That's why the investments in our plants in the USA and Brazil are true investments in the future," he continued at the event, which was attended by 3,000 employees, customers and guests from government and industry.

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