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Whyalla blast furnace back on line on May 25 – Liberty Primary Steel

Manufacturing News

The operator of the Whyalla steelworks, GFG Alliance’s Liberty Primary Steel now expects to be able to restart the blast furnace on site on May 27, ahead of the June date originally feared.

The blast furnace has been closed since March due to an uncontrolled iron breakout which damaged the furnace’s outer shell.

The furnace went too cold during maintenance with the damage done when the company was attempting to get the blast furnace back up to temperature.

Liberty Managing Director of Whyalla Tony Swiericzuk wrote in a blast furnace update: “Good news this week as the repairs to the blast furnace shell were safely completed ahead of our original schedule and the blast furnace operations was handed back yesterday.

“The operations team now need 7 to 8 days to reinstate infrastructure that was removed to undertake the shell repair, conduct safety checks and purge the systems.

“We plan wind-on recommencement of the blast recovery around 25th May to rebuild thermal stability in a smaller blast furnace operating zone initially.”

The steelworks produces billet for the downstream rod and bar mills, for rolling in other manufacturing sites, together with rail and structural steel products.

Swiericzuk said the earlier than anticipated repair would not have been possible without the hard work and expertise of the team undertaking the recovery of the blast furnace.

“I thank them, and all Whyalla steelworks employees for their ongoing dedication.”

Around 50 percent of workers at Whyalla have agreed to move from a shift roster of 42 hours over seven days to 7.6 hours a day over five days – effectively a 30 percent pay cut.

Further reading:
Whyalla steelworks idle following shutdown damage

Picture: Liberty Primary Steel

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