Liberty Steel Ostrava to boost hot strip mill capacity to over 1 million mt

Czech steelmaker Liberty Steel Ostrava said Dec. 21 that it will invest almost Koruna 1 billion ($44.7 million) in a revamp of its hot strip mill to boost its capacity to over 1 million mt/year from the current 0.75 million mt/year.

Replacement of many parts at the current mill by the end of 2023 “will improve the reliability and sustainability of the operation of the plant’s Steckel mill, ensure the desired quality of its products and increase its capacity utilization to more than 1 million mt a year,” the company said.

The Ostrava strip mill, which began operation in 1999, is the only producer of hot rolled strip steel in the country. Its product offer includes structural steels, cold forming steels, micro-alloyed steels, weathering steels, carbon steels and steels for pressure vessel applications.

Director of the hot strip mill, Jan Pudich, said the modernization will improve the quality of the final flat rolled product. “The implementation of the range of individual upgrades will improve the mechanical properties of the hot rolled strip, remove surface defects and ensure precise adherence to its geometic shape,” he said in the statement.

A shutdown of at least two weeks at the mill will be required in the spring and fall of 2023, while key stages of the modernization are taking place, the company added.

Liberty Steel Ostrava is the biggest steelmaker in the Czech Republic, with annual steel production capacity of around 3.6 million mt.

The company said in its latest financial statement Aug. 26 that it shipped 684,000 mt of steel products in the second quarter of the year, a rise of almost 80% on the same period a year earlier and 26% higher than the first quarter of 2021.

Strong demand for flat products from the hot strip mill over the previous six-month period was one of the main causes of the rebound in production and sales, the steelmaker said.

— Chris Johnstone