Gerdau Açominas increases installed capacity by 50%

With an investment of US$ 1.5 billion, the company starts operating its new blast furnace

The Gerdau Açominas (MG) blast furnace 2 has just gone into operation. The installation of the equipment is part of the plant's expansion project. The unit is located in Ouro Branco and has also already started running its second sintering and the continuous block casting. The plant's expansion plan has been allotted investments reaching US$ 1.5 billion and will increase its installed capacity by 50%, from 3 million tons to 4.5 million tons of liquid steel per year. “The expansion of Gerdau Açominas is the highest investment in the history of the Gerdau Group in Brazil. With this project, we are getting ready to supply the growing domestic and worldwide demand for steel products”, says André Gerdau Johannpeter, the Gerdau Group CEO. The main investment foreseen in the expansion program, blast furnace 2 is the equipment that turns basic raw materials – like sinter, coke and granulated iron ore – into pig iron. It is the third new blast furnace built in Brazil in 20 years, and its construction was completed in only 22 months. Pig iron is the main input for steel manufacturing, which is the next step in the industrial process. Besides the blast furnace, the second sintering, the continuous block casting, and the expanded structural section rolling are also in operation. This stage is expected to be completed in April 2008, as the second coke plant goes into operation. “The investment in the Ouro Branco plant expansion will allow our production to increase by 50% and result in a mix of higher-quality finished products”, says Manoel Vitor de Mendonça Filho, executive vice-president of Gerdau Açominas. The construction work for the Açominas expansion complied with the strictest environmental management standards. The construction generated 10,000 jobs. As the new industrial stage starts operating, over 1,500 new permanent jobs will be created for direct employees and service providers.
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