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Hyundai Steel Officially Opens

First blast furnace reflects Hyundai Steel’s commitment to environment, applies latest eco-friendly technologies

- Hyundai’s steel works aim to start delivering high-quality automotive steels in 2011

- New steel works to stimulate growth of the Korean economy

(Dangjin, Korea)  Hyundai Steel Co., part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, today celebrated the start of commercial operation of its new integrated steel works with an opening ceremony.

Over 2,500 distinguished guests and staff attended the ceremony, including South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group Chairman and CEO Chung Mong-Koo and Chairman Roger Agnelli of Brazilian mining company Vale.

The ceremony marks the start of commercial operation 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 end of this year to reach capacity of 8 million tons a year.

“Through Hyundai Steel’s substantial investment of 6.23 trillion won (approx. US$5.5 billion), we are constructing the most advanced, eco-friendly integrated steel works in the world, which is also in line with the government’s green growth policy,” Chairman Chung said at the ceremony. “The No. 1 blast furnace in Dangjin is the largest among the newly-built steel works in Korea.  When No.2 blast furnace is completed, Hyundai Steel will leap forward to rank as a truly global steelmaker with a total annual production capacity of 20 million tons.”

High-quality Automotive Steel Plate Works

Hyundai Steel’s new steel works will produce high-quality automotive steel plates.  It plans to complete its development of automotive steel structures by the end of this year and to begin mass production in 2011.

Hyundai Steel closely cooperates with its affiliates in the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group.  Hyundai Steel specializes in crude steel production and HRC (Hot-Rolled Coil) manufacturing while Hyundai Hysco’s specialty is CRC (Cold-Rolled Coil).  Both are suppliers to automakers Hyundai and Kia.

Around 400 metallurgists and structural engineers representing key customers within the Group are working together at Hyundai Steel’s R&D Center in Dangjin to develop the precise steel alloys needed to reduce weight while maintaining rigidity and safety.

Hyundai Steel plans to invest 85 billion won (approx. US$75 million) in expanding its R&D center, recruiting more researchers and furnishing state of the art equipment in a bid to spur the development of high-quality steel products such as automotive and ship plates.

Hyundai Steel’s First Blast Furnace

Today’s event celebrates the end of trial operation of the blast furnace which began Jan. 5 this year with a “firing” ceremony and the start of full-fledged commercial operations. 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.  In 2006, it embarked on a massive investment and construction project to build blast furnaces which use iron ore and coking coal to produce high-quality virgin steel for cars, ships and consumer durable goods.

With the operation of the blast furnace, Hyundai Steel has a broad product line ranging from long products produced by EAF such as reinforcing bars and H-beams to high-quality steel for cars, ships and consumer durables which are manufactured by blast furnaces.

Hyundai Steel said the construction of the blast furnace was completed on-schedule, finished in just three years since the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2006, which is one of the shortest periods worldwide for construction of such a large furnace.  The plant is located in the coastal town of Dangjin, about 123 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

The No.1 blast furnace, with an inner volume of 5,250 cubic metres, a width of 17m and height of 110m, is a showcase of state-of-the-art engineering technologies.  It is expected to have quality and price competitiveness when the operation gets into full swing at the end of June this year.

An Eco-Friendly Steel Works

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 site at least two to three times a week throughout the construction period.

The environmental considerations have been a priority in the steel works’ design from the very outset, inherently different from other steel works where environmental facilities are installed only after the completion of the factory.  The most up-to-date emission control technologies 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 iron ore and coking coal dust from polluting nearby communities.

Contribution to Economy

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

Hyundai Steel’s integrated steel works have transformed Dangjin into the steel industry mecca in Korea.

According to local research data, the Dangjin steel works will have an economic effect equivalent to creating about 171,000 jobs (93,000 related to the construction and 78,000 operations).

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 2008, South Korea imported about 28.9 million tons of steel products, or about 52.3 percent of its annual crude steel production.  The operation of Hyundai Steel’s new blast furnace is expected to greatly alleviate the import of steel products from foreign countries.

<Time Line of Hyundai Steel Integrated Steel Works>

2006  Oct. 27  Ground-breaking ceremony for the integrated steel works

2007  March   Construction of the R&D Center completed

      April    Blast furnace equipment supply contract signed with Luxembourg-based Paul Wurth S.A.  

      May     Long-term iron ore supply contract signed with Brazilian mining firm VALE

      Dec.    Signed MOU with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Steel for technological cooperation

2008         Sign iron ore supply contracts with companies such as Australia’s Rio Tinto

2010, Jan. 5   `Firing’ ceremony of No. 1 blast furnace; begin operations

2010, April 8   Opening ceremony of No. 1 blast furnace; begin commercial operations

2010, Nov.     `Firing’ ceremony of No. 2 blast furnace; begin operations