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NZ Steel Completes $27- Million Melter Upgrade

Monday, May 06, 2002

A $27-million upgrade of New Zealand Steel’s No. 2 melter at its Glenbrook facility has been completed on time and on budget.

The upgrade has increased the melter’s capacity by about 10 percent, with much of the increased capability likely to be converted to coated-steel products for export.

The plant now incorporates two rebuilt Melters, which are rectangular electric furnaces that perform a molten separation process to produce slag and liquid hot metal for steelmaking from New Zealand’s black ironsands.

New Zealand Steel president Cyril Benjamin said “the completion of the upgrade work on time and on budget is a testament to the expertise and proficiency of the Glenbrook mill workers and the commitment of the many local contractors who have been involved in the project.” About two thirds of the money invested in the upgrade has been spent in New Zealand.

“The successful completion of this project means we have the equipment in place for the long-term future of steelmaking at Glenbrook,” Mr Benjamin said.

Bob Pullein, manager of primary operations for New Zealand Steel, said “commissioning the revamped melter has been a smooth process.”

“The project has taken 10 weeks (check) and during that time steel making has been limited to the No. 1 melter,” Mr Pullein said. “But with both melters now back in operation we have the capability to produce 650,000 tonnes of steel” he added.

With approximately 1300 employees, the Glenbrook facility processes local iron sands and coal to produce a range of flat steel products for New Zealand and export markets. These include hot and cold rolled coil, plate, metallic coated and painted steel products, hollow sections and welded beams.

New Zealand Steel is home to a number of recognised brands including GALVSTEEL™ and COLORSTEEL® pre-painted steel.

New Zealand Steel is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BHP Steel Limited, which is in turn a wholly-owned subsidiary of BHP Billiton.

The commissioning of the revamped No. 2 melter comes just a few months before the planned public listing of BHP Steel Limited on the Australian Stock Exchange.

About BHP Steel

BHP Steel ( is a flat steel products business serving customers in the building and construction, automotive and manufacturing industries. Employing over 12,000 people in more than 20 countries, it operates manufacturing plants and in-market processing and distribution centres throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

BHP Steel is a leader in steel coating and painting technology with strong global brands including COLORBOND® steel and ZINCALUME® steel. It is the world’s largest roll former of processed steel building products with respected brands such as LYSAGHT®, CUSTOM ORB®, KLIP-LOK® and GALVASPAN®.

On March 19th, BHP announced its intention to spin-out BHP Steel to form a stand-alone company by the end of 2002. The new publicly traded steel company will have approximately A$3.5 billion of net assets and $A5 billion sales revenue.

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