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Now that your tour of Sweden has brought you to Oxelosund, I should like, on behalf of the Grangesberg Company, to extend a cordial welcome to you and to Mrs Chrushchova, and to your family. We are pleased to see you here as our guest at this Works, which is recent years has come to play a leading part in the trading relations between the Soviet Union and Sweden, and which has already been visited by many members of your Government and by Soviet administrators, scientists and technicians.
I am likewise happy to welcome with you today all the distinguished representatives of soviet authorities, of the Soviet Union's diplomatic mission in Sweden, and of the Soviet press. I also wish to say how glad we are to see Prime Minister Erlander and Mrs Erlander among us today and I extend a warm welcome to them and to all our other Swedish guests.
For me personally, Mr Premier, your visit to us is a source of particular satisfaction, since I have myself, together with my wife and many of my colleagues, undertaken several journeys to your country during the past few years. I have received a most friendly welcome at the hands of your nearest colleagues, Deputy Premiers Mikojan and Kosygin, and of your Minister of Foreign Commerce Patolichev and others, and we have been given the opportunity to make a thorough study of Soviet industrial establishments and Soviet towns and cities. What we saw in your mines and factories, at your shipyards and in your research institutes has deepened the respect we feel for the technical and social progress now being made in the Soviet Union, and we have made many friends among the able and enthusiastic men and women who serve your industry and your science. It is true that we work in different countries and under different economic systems, but we are united with our Soviet colleagues in the same longings and hopes: to maintain the momentum of progress within our various fields of activity - such as mining, manufacturing and trade - and thereby to create something new, to the benefit of the communities where we work, to the benefit of our countries, and in the final event to the benefit of peace and civilisation.
Now let me give a brief account of our Company and of its plants here in Oxelosund.
The backbone of our Company can be said to be our 250-kilometre-long railway running from Ludvika through the mining district of Central Sweden down to Oxelosund. Up until recent years, the bulk of the Company's own activities was concentrated along this railway. In the north we have the mines of Grangesberg and of Strassa, together with the ironworks in Guldsmedshyttan. The origins of all these establishments can be traced back to the Middle Ages. About half way along the line we have the railway offices and maintenance shops in Eskilstuna and the factory of Nyby Bruk, one of Sweden's largest makers of stainless steel, in which we have a half-share. In the south we have the entirely new steelworks of Oxelosund, and there too is the Company's own harbour, which can take larger ships than any other Baltic port. To Oxelosund comes the ore from our own mines; some of it goes into our own blast-furnaces, but the bulk of it is exported to both Eastern and Western Europe.
To move our export ore and to bring in imported coal and oil we have built up a fleet of our own which, counting vessels now under construction, comprises close to 800,000 tons deadweight and is largely made up of combined ore and oil carriers.
We have also in recent years built up our own machinery and construction division, with plants both in Sweden and elsewhere on the Continent. We produce steel structures of various kinds - for multi-storey buildings, industrial premises, bridges, oil tanks, and so on. This division includes our up-to-date pipe mill in Jordbro near Stockholm, where we make the heavy-gauge gas line pipes, which we have been sending to your country over the last few years. The steel plate for these pipes comes from Oxelosund, and the pipes are shipped from here too.
This iron and steel works, where in a little while we shall be having a closer look at certain details, went intro production in 1960, and in the short period since then it has already been through several stages of expansion. We calculate that the most recently adopted expansion scheme will give us by next year a capacity of nearly 800.000 metric ingot- tons of steel, from which we shall make more than 500.000 tons of rolled products, chiefly heavy plate.
As I noted earlier, the Works gets most of its ore from our own mines. All the ore is sintered and is converted into pic-iron in the two blast-furnaces. The molten pig-iron goes to the steelworks, which has one open-heart furnace and two Kaldo furnaces. The Kaldo furnace is a Swedish invention, and the steelworks in Oxelosund is the first in the world to be built for the large-scale exploitation of the Kaldo process. I believe that this new process is already quite familiar to the Soviet technicians and scientists, now that many of them have been here and studied it. The process permits the use of both high-phosphorus and low-phosphorus pig-iron, which suits us very well, since - just like the Soviet Union - we have ore of both kinds in our mines. The Kaldo furnace is made to rotate while oxygen is blown in onto the melt; it is easy to control and it yields an excellent steel. Here in Oxelosund we also have a sponge-iron plant, in which we use special methods of process iron ore concentrate from Grangesberg - we believe in fact that this is the world's richest concentrate, containing nearly 72 per cent of iron. We use it to make a sponge iron which is intended for the most advanced types of quality steel and which can also be used for iron powder. This sponge-iron process is in use at only two other places in the world.
Naturally enough, one cannot form a complete picture of life in a place like this merely by looking at industrial plants, offices and laboratories. If you had time, Mr. Premier, we should very much have liked to show you how the 2,600 employees of the Works and their families live here in Oxelosund, and how they spend their spare time. We should have liked to show you their houses and their gardens, and the schools, sports grounds, parks, libraries and theatres and many other things besides that have sprung up here in just a few short years, thanks to the united efforts of the local authorities, the Company, and the employees. But we are very happy that we shall have the chance of showing Mrs. Chrushchova and the other members of your family something, at least, of all this.
Finally, let me say a few words about our Company's trading connections with the Soviet Union. Just over three years ago, as you know, we signed a contract with V/O Promsyrioimport by which we were to supply considerable quantities of large welded pipes intended to carry natural gas. Our pipe mill in Jordbro was purchased and equipped specifically for this contract, and since then virtually the whole of its capacity has been utilised for our pipe export to the Soviet Union. Thanks to this agreement, our Group has in recent years become Sweden's largest exporter to the Soviet Union of products made in its own plants.
When we signed the contract, our Company had not yet made any pipes of this type, and I remember Mr. Mikoyan asking me whether we really were prepared to deliver the pipes themselves, or just the air inside them. In due course we proved ourselves able to deliver the pipes as well, but I must admit that it called for very great exertions at our plants, in our offices and in our research laboratory before we succeeded in developing the special kinds of steel that were needed to meet the very stringent specifications laid down by your buyers. We have made it a point of honour to endeavour to maintain these deliveries without hitches of any kind. When my colleagues and I were in Moscow last autumn it gave us great satisfaction to be told, by your Minister of Foreign Commerce Patolichev, your Assistant Minister of Commerce Kuzmin, the Vice-Chairman of Glavgas, Mr. Bokserman, and others, that our pipes had been installed in the most difficult terrain, and that they had given full satisfaction.
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