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British firm begins work on furnace dust recycling plant



   A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Gyeongju on Friday for a furnace dust recycling plant that can help South Korea cut back on zinc imports and costs of burying harmful electric arc furnace dusts (EAFD).

   The plant, which is being built by Britain's ZincOx Resources PLC in Gyeongju, 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, will cost around US$250 million, with two recycling facilities to go online by April 2013, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

   The first facility, expected to become operational by the end of this year, will be designed to handle 200,000 tons of waste per year, with the capacity to double once the plant in completed. The total of 400,000 tons that can be recycled at the ZincOx plant is equivalent to the EAFD produced by nine steel mills in the country that use electric arc furnaces.

   The dust made of heavy metals such as oxidized zinc and lead is classified as toxic waste that must be carefully buried at a cost of up to 60,000 won (US$53.7) per ton. The country spends an average of 18 billion won on burial each year.

   The ministry said that the plant could recover 56,000 tons of zinc per year that can save local steel mills around US$140 million in imports. It can also recycle 80,000 tons of zinc oxide and reduced iron, respectively.

   Regarding the investment by the British company, the ministry in charge of the country's industrial policies said follow-up investments could take place. It added that both the central and regional governments have pledged to give extensive tax breaks and a 50-year free lease on the land used. (Yonhap News)

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