NLMK La Louvière expands production with mill upgrade

NLMK La Louvière has begun the pre-assembly of three new finishing mill stands for its hot strip mill upgrade, Russian parent NLMK tells Kallanish.

This will enable the company to expand the production of thinner, stronger and more environmentally friendly steel for customers in the EU. Investment amounted to EUR 150 million ($178 million).

The pre-assembly is planned to last until November, then dismantling of the old finishing mill stands will begin, followed by the installation of the pre-assembled and tested new ones. The finishing mill stands are supplied by Primetals, which was awarded the contract to modernise the hot strip mill in 2019.

The project will enable the mill to expand the production of high-strength, thin hot-rolled coil as thin as 1.2mm, NLMK says. It will also increase the range of high-strength products beyond 1,000 MPa yield strength and provide customers with best-in-class surface and dimensional tolerances.

The first phase of the mill transformation is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, and the second phase will be completed in 2021.

Belgium-based La Louvière produces coil from slab supplied by NLMK’s principal Russian Lipetsk site. The supply volume is approximately 1.6 million tonnes/year.

NLMK’s consolidated steel output and sales were impacted in the second quarter by declining demand in its traditional sales markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic (see Kallanish passim). It expects lower on-year steel output at Lipetsk in Q3 because of major overhauls.

Consolidated output of crude steel decreased to 3.9mt in Q2, down by -8% on-quarter and -3% on-year due to lower capacity utilisation rates at NLMK Russia Long Products and NLMK USA.