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NLMK investing over 34B rubles to upgrade blast furnace at Lipetsk

PJSC Novolipetsk Steel said Dec. 18 that it began a project to reconstruct a blast furnace at its Lipetsk site, which should increase its capacity by 8% to 3.4 million tonnes of pig iron per year.

The steelmaker's investment in upgrading Blast Furnace No. 6 will exceed 34 billion rubles, or over US$500 million and "significantly improve" its environmental performance while extending the inter-repair cycle by 50% to 25 years.

Work is already underway to install new blast air heaters and de-dusting systems and to assemble the main units and steel structures, which will be completed before the shutdown of the blast furnace, scheduled for May 2019.

The blast furnace will be dismantled and then rebuilt from prefabricated modules over a 130-day stoppage.

"We are not just replacing an obsolete furnace with a new one: the project will make a significant contribution to the overall increase in steel output as part of the new strategic cycle," NLMK Group Vice President of Investment Projects Konstantin Lagutin said.

Novolipetsk increased its iron ore concentrate output by 7% year over year to 2.5 Mt and pellet output by 2% to 1.7 Mt in the third quarter.

As of Dec. 17, US$1 was equivalent to 66.66 Russian rubles.