Australian steel manufac- turer OneSteel reported that, following stop-pages on its Whyalla blast furnace after a localised fail- ure of an expansion joint, resulting in a small discharge of hot material, the company has now completed the required repairs to the Whyalla blast furnace, but has been unable to restart operations owing to difficulty in re-establishing connections between the blast furnace tap holes and the tuyères.
These connections are required to restart stable smelting process conditions and, as a result, OneSteel now expects it will take about four weeks to return the blast furnace to normal operating levels.
Owing to available electric arc furnace capacity and the company’s strong broad-based inventory position, OneSteel expects little impact on its ability to meet expected customer demand across the majority of its prod- ucts and customers. In addition, some product will be imported to supplement product where required. For those customers and products that may be affected as a result of the interruption, the company is working to decrease the impact.
The company also does not believe the interruption will have a material impact on its earnings for the second half of this financial year.