Copperstone Resources AB and GreenIron H2 AB are starting a joint development project, based on GreenIron’s fossil-free reduction process and Copperstone’s future by-product flows from planned copper and magnetite mining. The project intends to optimise material handling both before and after GreenIron’s process. Copperstone will contribute with material handling and analysis and GreenIron will contribute with a fossil-free process to reduce metal oxides to metals.
The project, which is supported by Vinnova with SEK17 million, will increase understanding of the process itself as well as the various process steps that exist before and after the reduction process itself. This also includes GreenIron building a full-scale demonstration plant. GreenIron has a unique process for the reduction of various metals which it says, in contrast to today’s conventional processes, is completely fossil-free and operates at a significantly lower temperature, is silent, energy efficient and the only residual product is water.
“The output of the GreenIron process is valuable commodities extracted from magnetite, haematite, waste and residual products from the steel-, mining- and manufacturing industry. The process is completely CO2 free, the only emissions from the process is water and pure iron pellets.” The production process is centered around a 5-ton Bell furnace with electric heating units. The furnace is charged with oxidised iron-based pellets and evacuated. Thereafter the furnace is heated to ~650°C and pressurised hydrogen is added. The Laws of Nature regarding pressure differences, temperature and mass are the main drivers of the process. The process is a solid state process, where the material processed never reaches the melting temperature. The structure of the process and the low working temperature allows for minimum wear and tear and thus a low cost of maintenance.”
The GreenIron solution is small scale but modular and thus on paper infinitely scalable. “A single furnace can process up to 43,000 t of oxidised material per year. With a duo furnace (two interconnected furnaces) the double amount will be produced with a reduced energy cost as heat will be reused between the two furnaces. The consumption of hydrogen in the furnace is in accordance with the theoretical minimum for the material to be processed. All hydrogen that is not consumed in a cycle can be re-used in the following cycle.”
“It is very interesting for Copperstone to work with GreenIron in this project. Their fossil-free technology has the potential to increase our recoveries and at the same time reduce the environmental impact by making maximum use of any by-product flows from the future mining operations,” says Copperstone’s enrichment manager Tove Thelin Täckdal.
“It is really inspiring for us at GreenIron to work together with Copperstone. Their expertise in pre- and post-processing of materials will mean a lot to GreenIron’s continued work. GreenIron’s method has great potential to reduce CO2 emissions significantly. We believe that the collaboration with Copperstone will help us reach further targets faster,” says GreenIron CEO Edward Murray.
Copperstone Resources AB is a company now scaling up to become a modern and responsibly producing mining company through the reopening of the Viscaria mine in Kiruna, Sweden. It believes that the deposit’s high copper grade assessed mineral resources, geographical location and growing team of experts provides good opportunities to become a key supplier of quality and responsibly produced copper – “a metal that plays a critical role in Sweden’s and Europe’s climate change towards an electrified society.”
In addition to the Viscaria mine, Copperstone holds a number of other exploitation concessions and exploration permits in Arvidsjaur (Eva, Svartliden, Granliden) and Smedjebacken (Tvistbogruvan), all in Sweden.
GreenIron H2 AB is a privately held company “with patented and proven energy efficient technology to reduce metal oxides to pure metal.” It saystThe process is suitable for the creation of metals from ore, residuals and waste. The technology is hydrogen based with only water as emission. “When using GreenIron’s process in conjunction with a steel mill you can, without any CO2 emissions, create prime iron-based metals for reintroduction to the steelmaking process from the waste and residuals formed in the steelmaking process. GreenIron enables a fully circular resource usage on site.”