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The Government of the USSR decided to build a steelmaking plant in Beryozovsky

There was a need to organize steelmaking operations in the region to cover the needs of the defence, space, nuclear, electronic and medical industries, since precision alloys were purchased abroad.

It was decided to build a plant in Beryozovsky, since necessary scientific and industrial institutions were located in Sverdlovsk region; the town was also close to the railway.

Construction was completed in the record time of 18 months while construction of rolling shops would normally take 23 months according to existing standards. The cost of construction and installation for the facility overall was 7.3 million rubles less than the estimate.

While adopting the grain oriented steel production technology, extensive research was conducted to improve the hot-rolling and cold-rolling technologies and develop decarburisation and recrystallisation annealing as well as high-temperature annealing.

This research identified the optimal parameters of steel structure, substructure and texture which control secondary recrystallisation during high-temperature annealing.

Thanks to this technology, the plant was able to significantly reduce GO steel production costs and increase output. There was a major breakthrough in the power industry when high grade home-produced electrical steel began to be used in manufacturing of high-power transformers.

The electrical engineering industry became less dependent on imported goods and the relevant restrictions in transformer production.

The construction of blast furnace No. 3 started in October 1960.

December 1960. The integrated project specification for construction of Stoilensky Mine, with an annual output potential of 4 million tonnes of iron ore, was approved by the Resolution of the Belgorod Economic Council.

NLMZ’s 1960 annual report said:

“The capacity of the first stage has been specified: 40,000 tonnes of grain-oriented and 50,000 tonnes of cold-rolled carbon steel per year. The equipment for the first stage includes: one pickling line, a five-stand type-1200 mill, a reversing mill type-1200, a slitting unit, a cut-to-length machine, 18 heat-treatment furnaces for black and bright annealing, two washing and cleaning units for grain-oriented steel plates...”

New rotary boring drills (RBD-2) with a drilling rate of 70–80 metres per shift were supplied to the Studenovskoye Mining Administration from 1960, providing four times the speed of old cable drilling tools.

01 june
Order No. 13 of the Ministry of Ferrous Metallurgy of the USSR established a directorate for the plant to be built.

On June 1 director of the plant was appointed; it was Nikolai Vyatkin, an experienced steelmaker, a front-line soldier, a former director of the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Steelmaking Works.

His contribution to the development of steelmaking cannot be underestimated: it was he who turned a wood lot into shops, the construction of social facilities began in the city.

Production accounting at the blast furnace shop, shipping and sale records, scrap intake records broken down by supplier and the analysis of sold product accounts were all mechanised using a machine tabulation station, which was later reorganised into the Data Processing Centre and then the CAM system.

On 1 July 1969, flat rolling shop No. 3 was commissioned, with a type-2000 mill designed to produce 5.8 million tonnes per year. The mill was put in commercial operation in April 1970.

The type-2000 mill is one of the largest facilities in the industry. The total weight of its equipment is more than 37,000 tonnes. The area occupied by the unit itself is more than 120,000 square metres, with a 1.2 kilometre-long hot-rolling production line. The overall generating capacity of electric motors powering the mill equipment exceeds 170,000 kW. The mill is equipped with state-of-the-art automated production control systems.

The mill was designed with the application of the world’s cutting-edge technology of continuous rolling fr om continuously cast slabs and coiling hot-rolled strips, from the thinnest (1.2 mm) to thick (16 mm) ones, up to 1,850 mm in width, at a high speed and relatively low temperature.

Special long steel production processes for the shipbuilding and oil processing industries were developed and implemented, and the technology of steel strip rolling from special grades of construction steel was adopted.

The new design of the mill equipment enabled roll pressure and rolling speed rates which had not been possible before, as well as a substantial increase in the weight of rolled slabs.

The design output capacity of the mill was 5.78 million tonnes per year, unprecedented in global practice.

On 1 March 1969, the crushing and screening plant produced 3.8 million tonnes of high grade ore in one year, fully in line with its production load.

The first train of iron ore from Stoilensky mine was shipped to Novotulsky Metallurgical Plant on 2 April 1969.

Serafim Kolpakov

Director of Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works in 1970–1978

Serafim Kolpakov was born in Lipetsk.

He graduated from the Lipetsk Ore Mining and Smelting College in 1951 and was sent to Ashinsky Metallurgical Plant wh ere he worked as a crew leader, production foreman and deputy head of the foundry shop.

Between 1957 and 1963, Kolpakov worked at Lipetsk Tractor Plant as a crew leader in the steel foundry shop, foreman, acting section manager and senior foreman of the iron foundry shop.

In 1963 he graduated from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, having completed his education, he changed his job and began working at Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works at BOF-1. He worked as a foreman, shift manager and deputy shop manager.

Kolpakov was appointed head of BOF-1 in 1967 and director of the plant in 1970. He was directly involved in the development and adoption of new technology of steelmaking through heavy-duty converters with subsequent continuous casting by special machines as well as in development and implementation of an integrated environmental protection control system at the plant.

Facilities built and commissioned under his leadership include blast furnace No. 2 which is still in operation, blast furnace No. 5, the steelmaking slag processing shop, the waste water treatment shop, steelmaking equipment repair shop No. 2, Zvezdny Sports Arena, Prometheus summer camp.

Serafim Kolpakov was appointed Deputy Minister of Ferrous Metallurgy of the USSR in 1978 and became Minister in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed Minister of Metallurgy of the USSR. He retired in 1990 with an individual pension in recognition of his service to the nation.

In 1991, he became Vice President of the Union of Associations and Joint Stock Companies in the Area of Non-Conventional Materials.

Kolpakov was elected President of the International Union of Metalworkers in 1992.

During the 11th Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (employers) in November 2000, he was elected to the Board of the RSPP.

In October 2001, Kolpakov was elected to the Management Committee of the Non-profit Partnership ‘Consortium Russian Steel’ founded after the agreement between NLMK and NTMK was signed.

Serafim Kolpakov was buried at Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.

06 november
First roast smelting

On November 6, the first roast smelting on an induction furnace was carried out in the experimental shop. This day is considered the birthday of the plant.

Decline in production

Due to the ruble conversion, the plant lost a large number of its customers. The plant team was faced with the similar challenges as many plants of the country at that time.

On 3 November 1992, Joint-Stock Company Stoilensky Mining and Processing Plant (Stoilensky) was founded following privatisation of the state-run company of the same name to be its legal successor in accordance with the constituent documents.

Pursuant to Decision No. 823 of the Lipetsk Region State Property Management Committee dated 31 December 1992, the state-run enterprise The Yu. V. Andropov Novolipetsk Iron & Steel Works honoured with the Lenin Order and the October Revolution Order was reorganised into the Novolipetsk Steel Open Type Joint Stock Company.

Metalware production

The production of precision alloys is gradually curtailed. In the vacated areas the equipment for the production of metalware is mounted.

Modernisation of power facilities was completed at NLMK in 2004. As a result, the plant’s self-sufficiency in energy grew to 40%.

A system of up-to-date high pressure steam generation equipment with a capacity of 220 tonnes per hour was put in operation at NLMK’s cogeneration plant. Investment in the project totalled 210 million rubles. Following this upgrade, NLMK’s energy capacity improved and its self-sufficiency in energy increased to 40%. The load on the unified energy system was reduced significantly. Annual power consumption dropped by 265 million kWh. Power generated by NLMK turned out to cost half as much as power purchased from RAO UES of Russia.

The commissioned system included a boiler, auxiliary units, measuring instruments as well as an automated process control system and a flue gas composition control system. A mixture of blast furnace gas and coke oven gas was to be used as fuel for steam generation, with pressure of up to 100 atm and temperature of 5,200 °C.

The last precision alloy produced

The plant has completely switched to the production of metalware.

In 2006 NLMK acquired Independent Transportation Company LLC (NTK), a logistics operator providing 100% of the company’s railway transportation.

NTK was a key logistics asset of the Company, ensuring timely delivery of raw materials for steelmaking and shipment of finished products to customers in Russia and abroad. NTK coordinated interaction with Russian Railways and port authorities regarding export operations.

In 2006 NLMK acquired VIZ-Steel, Russia’s second-largest electrical steel producer with an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes. VIZ-Steel’s semi-finished product needs are entirely supplied by NLMK.

VIZ-Steel is an electrical steel production facility located in Yekaterinburg. It produces cold-rolled electrical steel. The production capacity of VIZ-Steel totals around 200,000 tonnes of electrical steel per year. The company’s share of the Russian grain oriented steel market is 56%, with 11% of the global market.

Altai-Koks coke plant satisfying 100% of NLMK’s demand for coke was acquired in 2006.

Altai-Koks is the leading Russian coke plant producing high-quality coke and chemical products. The production capacity of Altai-Koks totals 3.8 million tonnes of six-percent humidity coke. The plant was to commission a new coke battery with a capacity of 1.14 million tonnes at the end of 2006.

Danish steel rolling company DanSteel A/S, a producer of thick steel plates, was acquired in 2006. The semi-finished product needs of DanSteel A/S are completely supplied by NLMK’s steel slabs.

The annual production output of DanSteel A/S is about 500,000 tonnes of hot-rolled thick plates. DanSteel A/S has state-of-the-art production facilities. For a few years, NLMK had successfully cooperated with the Danish company, being DanSteel’s key supplier of steel slabs since 2002.

In 2006 NLMK and Duferco Group set up a joint venture including one steelmaking facility and five rolling mills as well as a network of steel service centres in Europe and the USA. The JV’s total output of finished products was estimated at 4.5 million tonnes.

The companies approved a large-scale technical upgrade and development programme. Total investment was estimated at €375 million. Through the JV with Duferco, NLMK planned to increase slab production by 3.4 million tonnes, while Duferco, which had been facing a shortfall in slab capacity, aimed to expand the output of high value-added goods as well as steel products of special grades.

The JV included the following companies:

  • Carsid S.A. (Marcinelle, Belgium) – a slab producer with a production capacity of 2.1 million tonnes per year.

  • Duferco La Louvière S.A. (La Louvière, Belgium) – a rolled steel producer, with an annual hot-rolling capacity of 2.0 million tonnes, cold-rolling capacity of 1.6 million tonnes, and wire rod capacity of 0.36 million tonnes.

  • Duferco Clabecq S.A. (Ittre, Belgium) – a thick plate producer with a production capacity of 0.8 million tonnes per year.

  • Duferco Coating S.A.S. (Strasbourg and Beautor, France) – a coated steel producer comprising two production assets: Sorral (with an annual hot-dip galvanised steel capacity of 0.32 million tonnes and pre-painted steel capacity of 0.12 million tonnes) and Beautor (with an annual cold-rolling capacity of 0.35 million tonnes and electrogalvanised steel capacity of 0.33 million tonnes).

  • Duferco Farrell Corp. (Farrell, Pennsylvania, USA) – a flat rolled steel producer with an annual hot-rolling capacity of 1.8 million tonnes and cold-rolling capacity of 0.8 million tonnes.

Acciaierie Grigoli S.p.a. (Verona, Italy) – a producer of heavy plates and ingots with an annual heavy plate production capacity of 0.6 million tonnes.

In addition, the joint venture includes a distribution group of nine service centres selling products manufactured by the JV and other producers. The service centres are located in France, Belgium and Czech Republic.

Production upgrade and equipment revamp is completed

The plant has the most state-of-the-art production in Russia.

According to the companies’ plans, the joint venture TBEA – NLMK (Shenyang) Metal Product Co. Ltd was to start its operation in the city of Shenyang (Liaoning Province, China). The JV primarily offered metal processing (slitting of steel coils) and distribution of GO and NGO steel produced by NLMK. The term of the agreement was 20 years. Total project investment amounted to $12 million.

In 2007 JV NLMK-Duferco acquired steel rolling company Sharon Coating (Winner Steel) based in Pennsylvania, USA.

Winner Steel is one of the largest American independent producers of galvanised steel. Its facilities include three continuous hot-dip galvanising lines with a total capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per year. The overall production output in 2006 was 0.6 million tonnes. Winner Steel’s 2006 sales revenue totalled around $427 million.

In 2007 NLMK acquired Maxi-Group, which included a number of companies involved in steelmaking, ferrous scrap collection and processing, and steel rolling.

In terms of technology and organisation, the steelmaking division of Maxi-Group is based on the mini-mill concept, both in operation and in construction terms, located in Sverdlovsk Region, Central regions of Russia, and the Volga Region. The company’s product mix includes long products (2.4 million tonnes), rebar (1.3 million tonnes) and metalware (0.55 million tonnes).

The scrap collection and processing division currently includes more than 300 facilities with an overall annual capacity of 3 million tonnes of scrap, and operates in 38 Russian regions. According to preliminary estimates, the volume of collected and processed scrap was to reach 2.3 million tonnes in 2007

The plant passed into the control of NLMK Long Products

After entering the Long Products Division of NLMK Group, which is managed by NLMK Long Products, the plant continued to enhance its production and technological base. The plant has become an example of a modern steelmaking production company.  

In 2009 NLMK entirely stopped discharging waste water into the Voronezh River, as part of the Technical Upgrade Programme, reducing river water consumption by two thirds. The company was able to do this by substantially upgrading the industrial water supply system and implementing a new process flow. NLMK built a new pipeline system and launched new pump stations, also renovating the existing ones. This helped improve waste water quality, making it possible to reuse waste water rather than taking in fresh river water.


The Ural Precision Alloys Plant was renamed into NLMK Metalware.

NLMK began construction of the mill in the Vorsino industrial park located 70 km from Moscow in 2008, investing 38 billion rubles in the project. The annual capacity of NLMK Kaluga amounted to 1.5 million tonnes of steel and 0.9 million tonnes of rolled products. The EAF shop includes an electric arc furnace, a ladle furnace and an 8-strand continuous casting machine designed to produce billets 100x100 mm, 125x125 mm, 150x150 mm and 160x160 mm in cross section and 6–12 m long. The equipment was supplied by Siemens VAI Metals Technologies (Austria).

The rolling shop includes a type-400/215 small and medium section mill (SMS Meer, Italy) producing AI class plain rebar 10–20 mm in diameter; A500C periodic class rebar 10–40 mm in diameter; as well as sections (25–100 mm equal angles, channels No. 5–12 and beams No. 8 and 10). Rolling capacity can potentially be expanded to 1.5 million tonnes by installing another rolling mill (medium section).

One of the leading manufacturers in Russia

The plant is the most state-of-the-art production company in the country (among the manufacturers of low-carbon metalware products). The plant's share of the Russian low-carbon metalware market exceeds 20%.