The Blast Furnace in one form or another has been around for over 2,000 years. Throughout history, it has had to withstand fierce criticism and competition. Despite innovations in the area of smelting reduction and the development of the electric arc furnace, the integrated steelmaking route remains the only viable option for large scale production of steel. Better understanding of the Blast Furnace process, highly improved ore preparation, increased installation reliability and longevity and in particular the inventions of the basic oxygen steelmaking process and the continuous caster have contributed to the fact that the integrated route still guarantees the lowest cost per ton. As world steel demand continues to rise, and emerging markets require ever increasing amounts of high quality steel with optimum forming characteristics, the Blast Furnace will continue to tower above other ironmaking methods.