South Korean steelmaker POSCO’s No. 1 blast furnace, has shut down after 48 years of service. The No. 1 blast furnace at the Pohang works, which dates to 1973, could produce up to 1.3 million tons of crude steel a year, just over 3% of Posco's total capacity.

The facility has been renovated twice over the years but its performance has decreased with age. Posco had announced plans in 2017 to shut the furnace, but it remained in operation. In 2020, a plunge in demand driven by the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to shut the furnace down. The decision to permanently shut down the furnace was decided late December 2021.

The facility in Pohang is South Korea's first integrated steel mill, built as the military government at the time sought to make the nation an industrial superpower. The No. 1 furnace was constructed with technology from Japanese steelmakers and is seen as a symbol of economic cooperation between the two countries.

To commemorate the furnace’s important role in South Korea’s economic development and steel history, POSCO held a closing ceremony in the steelmaker’s integrated steel mill in Pohang, 370 kilometers south of Seoul.

Considering the historical value and significance of the furnace, POSCO will renovate the furnace into the Pohang No. 1 Blast Furnace Museum and open it to the public.

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(Image courtesy of Asia Nikkei and POSCO)