NLMK Group, the largest steelmaker in Russia with a production capacity exceeding 17Mt/yr, has embarked upon a RUB34 billion, large-scale reconstruction of blast furnace No. 6 (BF-6) at its Lipetsk site.The project will bring about an 8% increase in BF capacityto 3.4Mt/yr of pig iron, ‘significantly improve’ BF-6’s environmental performance and extend its inter-repair cycle by 50% to 25 years.

At present,workis underway to installnewblast air heaters and dedusting systems, assemble main units and steel structures. These works will be completed before the blast furnace’s scheduled shutdown in May 2019. During the 130-day stoppage, the furnace will be dismantled and rebuilt from prefabricated modules, claims NLMK.

According to Konstantin Lagutin, NLMK Group’s vice president of investment projects, “LeadingRussianandinternationalengineeringcompanies,MPEand technology suppliershave been brought on board to work on this largest investment project to be executedat the Lipetsk site over the past two years. We will end up with a more productive and efficient blast furnace with improved environmental performance.”

Lagutin said the upgrade of the dedusting system will reduce dust content in the air ‘almost 10-fold’. “. 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.”