Ferro-alloy producer Posco SNNC has contracted SMS Siemag, Germany, for the delivery of the world's largest submerged arc furnace with six electrodes for the production of ferronickel in Gwangyang, Korea.

With the extension of the works in Gwangyang, the annual production capacity will be increased from 30kt to 54kt of nickel. Commissioning is scheduled for the end of 2014.

The power rating of the rectangular-shaped FeNi smelter is 140MVA at a total nominal power input of 100MW. The furnace dimensions of 40 x 15m.

SMS Siemag's scope of supply comprises all engineering and supervisory services, the delivery of the furnace and the X-Pact® electrical and automation systems.

The design includes a thermally optimized air cooling system for the bottom part of the furnace shell as well as the patented sidewall copper cooling system for the slag line level. The overall required cooling rate is moderate, which improves both the thermal efficiency and the productivity of the furnace.

The high-quality electrode columns have been developed especially for rectangular FeNi furnaces; they are energy-efficient and operate at highest availability levels.

The furnaces are equipped with thyristors (power semiconductor component for high power levels), allowing for flexible furnace operation and maximum production rates.

Posco SNNC (Société du Nickel de Nouvelle-Calédonie et Corée Pty Ltd) is a joint venture between the Korean steel company Posco and the mining company SMSP (Société Minière du Sud Pacifique S.A.), which is based in New Caledonia. From there, the nickel ore is shipped to the Gwangyang plant, where it is converted to ferronickel.