Korea's crude steel production is expected to reach a record high
this year on the back of increased facilities, according to the Korea Iron and Steel Association (KISA). This year's crude steel output is estimated at 80.21 million mt, up 25.0% from 2009 production of 64.17 million mt, a KISA report said.
A total of 49.35 million mt of crude steel is projected from blast furnaces this year, up 46.1% from last year's 33.77 million mt. Electric arc furnaces are expected to produce 30.86 million mt, up 1.5% from last year's 30.40 million mt. As a result, blast furnaces would account for 61.5% of the country's total crude steel output in 2010.
The output of hot-rolled sheets, used in cars, is expected to reach 38.81 mt this year, up 22.0% from 2008's output of 31.81 mt.
"The increased output is driven by the opening of Hyundai Steel's new blast furnace in April with a production capacity of 4 million mt/year and plans to open its No. 2 blast furnace in November, which has also capacity of 4 million mt/year," an association official said.
In May, Dongkuk Steel Mill, the country's No. 3 steelmaker, also
started full production at its new steel mill, which can produce 1.5 million mt/year of heavy steel plates. Meanwhile, Korea's top steelmaker, POSCO, plans to produce 34.5 million mt this year, up 16.9% from last year on the back of the economic recovery. Its first-quarter crude steel production jumped 32.6% year-on-year to 8.23 million mt.
The nation's second-biggest producer, Hyundai Steel, turned out 2.59 million mt of steel products in the first quarter, up from 2.11 million mt a year earlier. It plans to produce 3.25 million mt of steel products in the second quarter, up 25.5% from the first quarter.
Earlier this year, KISA said that local steelmakers are expected to spend 6.96 trillion won (US$5.6 billion) in 2010 on facility upgrades, down 31% from last year. They are likely to further slash capital investment to 5.84 trillion won next year and to 5.90 trillion won in 2012.
The steelmakers made record capital investment last year of 10.1 won trillion despite the global economic slowdown, compared with 7.1 trillion won in 2008.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy called on steelmakers to carry out their investment plans "without fail." The ministry also "urged them to come up with more measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption to meet new global environmental regulations."