The expenditure would be split into three parts with R103,2-million to be spent for the sinter plant refurbishment, R74,6-million on a hot metal desulphurisation project, and R166-million on the blast furnace mini-reline.
The construction and commission of the hot metal desulphurisation plant would add some 80 000 t in liquid steel to Newcastle, while the mini-reline and other improvements on the blast furnace would result in an additional 60 000 t of liquid steel.
The projects formed part of ArcelorMittal SA’s capacity expansion programme to increase its liquid steel production to 9,5-million tons by 2011.
Construction and installation for the hot metal desulphurisation project began in November 2007 with commissioning taking place in January 2008.
Refurbishment work on the sinter plant and raw materials handling plant would begin in May, to coincide with the mini-reline of blast furnace N5 at Newcastle.
The hot-metal desulphurisation project would assist the Newcastle operations to reduce its carbon dioxide generation.
ArcelorMittal SA CEO Rick Reato said that the construction of the desulphurisation plant would ensure that Newcastle complies with relevant environmental legislation as well as contribute to the company’s increased capacity programme.
He said the decision to upgrade and repair the sinter plant and raw materials-handling plant was necessary as no major refurbishment work had been undertaken on the plant since its was commissioned in 1975.
“The layout of the plant and the interdependencies of the sinter plant, raw materials handling and blast furnace make it impossible to take any of the plants off for a major refurbishment.”
Reato said, however, it had become necessary to upgrade the plant in order for it to continue operating for a further 20 years.
“With the mini reline blast furnace N5 scheduled to take place in May 2008, we will also be able to refurbish the sinter and raw materials handling plant at the same time. Something we have not been previously able to do.”