Tag Archives: carbon dioxide

LKAB plots path for fossil-free industrial mine waste recycling park

LKAB says it is planning a fossil-free industrial park for recycling mine waste and producing critical raw materials.

In the ReeMAP project, of which the aim is to develop technology for recycling mine waste, LKAB also plans to produce input materials, including hydrogen, and to electrify processes and, thereby, virtually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in mine-waste recycling.

Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, comments: “LKAB continues to develop Sweden’s strengths as an innovative nation. ReeMAP is an important initiative to utilise today’s mine waste, leading to increased circularity and contributing to the green transition with both phosphorus and rare earth elements.”

ReeMAP will apply fossil-free processes for recycling mine waste (tailings) from LKAB’s iron ore production and upgrade it to phosphorus products and rare earth elements; products which, owing to import dependency and their economic importance, are classed by the EU as critical raw materials. In addition, gypsum and fluorine products will also be produced at the industrial park, through the hydro chemical processes.

As part of the ReeMAP project, LKAB has already started producing apatite concentrate from mine waste in a pilot plant.

A “pre-study” for the park is to be completed in 2021, with full production, following environmental permitting and construction, estimated to be achievable by 2027.

The planned recycling of mine waste will entail a circular business model and improve resource utilisation, since all valuable minerals will be extracted, according to LKAB. Residual mine waste will continue to be landfilled.

“Thanks to electrification, the process will be almost entirely free of carbon dioxide emissions,” the company said. “Certain minor emissions may arise, due to the release of chemically-bound carbon in apatite (bound in remnants of calcite mineralisation).”

Production of mineral fertiliser will result in a reduction of 700,000 t of carbon dioxide emissions (corresponding to 1% of Sweden’s emissions in 2019), as compared with the alternative of increasing production of mineral fertiliser using conventional technology, it said.

Leif Boström, Senior Vice President for LKAB’s Business Area Special Products, said the investment in the fossil-free industrial park amounted to several billion Swedish kronor.

“The industrial park will be a centre for chemical engineering where innovative technology is used to recover valuable resources,” he said. “Here, we will set a global standard for clean products, energy efficiency and emissions.”

LKAB said: “In agriculture, high crop yields are made possible by the addition of plant nutrients in the form of phosphate fertiliser. As much as half of all agricultural production is dependent on fertilisers. The purity of the product is also important. For example, the phosphate fertiliser LKAB plans to produce will be free of cadmium, a hazardous substance which is contained in some of the material imported into the EU. Rare earth elements are used in many high-tech products, for example, permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.”

ReeMAP’s Project Manager, Ulrika Håkansson, explains that several challenges related to technological development, localisation and industrialisation must be addressed.

“We will need up to 50 ha to accommodate our facilities,” Håkansson said. “A railway line and port access are also important, since we plan to ship as much as a million tonnes of product a year. Production, especially hydrogen production, will be energy intensive. We are now looking at all of these requirements and conditions for possible localisation in Luleå, Skellefteå and Helsingborg.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO for LKAB, explains the importance of ReeMAP for LKAB’s strategy and future: “We have an ambition to be one of the most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible mining companies in the world. Through our development projects SUM, HYBRIT and now ReeMAP, we have assumed a global leadership role for industrial transformation and to provide the world with tomorrow’s resources.”

The European Union is tomorrow launching the European Raw Materials Alliance with LKAB as a partner. The aim is to increase the union’s degree of self-sufficiency in critical raw materials. Initially, the alliance will focus on rare earth elements.

Via ReeMAP, LKAB will have potential to produce 30% of the current EU requirement for these materials, it says.

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall start up world’s first pilot plant for fossil-free steel

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have celebrated the start-up of their HYBRIT pilot plant as part of a project to produce fossil-free sponge iron.

Sweden Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, started up the plant together with Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister in Sweden, Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB, and Magnus Hall, President and CEO of Vattenfall, today.

The achievement comes just over two years since ground was broken to mark the start of the pilot plant build for fossil-free sponge iron (direct reduced iron/hot briquetted iron) with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency.

At the plant, HYBRIT will perform tests in several stages in the use of hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron ore. The hydrogen will be produced at the pilot plant by electrolysing water with fossil-free electricity. Tests will be carried out between 2020 and 2024, first using natural gas and then hydrogen to be able to compare production results.

The framework for HYBRIT also includes a full-scale effort to replace fossil oil with bio oil in one of LKAB’s existing pellet plants in Malmberget, Sweden, in a test period extending until 2021. Preparations are also under way to build a test hydrogen storage facility on LKAB’s land in Svartöberget in Luleå, near the pilot plant.

The HYBRIT initiative has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland, as well as contributing to cutting steel industry emissions in Europe and globally. Today, the steel industry generates 7% of total global carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the companies.

“With HYBRIT, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall aim to create a completely fossil-free value chain from the mine to finished steel and to introduce a completely new technology using fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke to reduce the oxygen in iron ore,” they said. “This means the process will emit ordinary water instead of carbon dioxide.”

BHP invests in innovative carbon capture, use and storage company

BHP has made a $6 million equity investment into Carbon Engineering Ltd (CE), a Canada-based company leading the development of Direct Air Capture (DAC), a technology with the potential to deliver large-scale negative emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The investment will see BHP obtain a share of the company.

BHP’s Vice President, Sustainability and Climate Change, Fiona Wild, said: “BHP is committed to accelerating the global response to climate change by investing in emerging technologies that have the potential to lead to material reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in late 2018, if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, technologies that capture and remove CO2 will be required. DAC offers flexibility and potential, and could play a vital role in reducing future global emissions. We hope that this investment can accelerate the development and adoption of this technology.”

DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from atmospheric air and provides it in a purified form for use or storage, according to CE. The company’s DAC technology does this in a closed loop where the only major inputs are water and energy, and the output is a stream of pure, compressed CO2.

This captured, compressed CO2 then offers a range of opportunities to create products and environmental benefits, including production of clean-burning liquid fuels with ultra-low carbon intensity, CE said.

CE’s CEO, Steve Oldham, said: “At CE we’re focused on commercialising technologies that can play a critical role in addressing climate change. As we work to deploy our technologies at large scale around the world, we’re thrilled to welcome investment from industry-leading companies like BHP.”

He said the company’s global reach and experience in executing complex projects, as well as its strategic commitment to reducing emissions, made them an ideal partner to help accelerate the commercialisation and use of CE’s technologies.

“We’re looking forward to working with BHP and our other partners as we progress the development of DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ facilities, and ultimately achieve our goal of delivering affordable, carbon-neutral fuels and significant emissions reductions around the globe,” he said.

Wild said the investment in CE complements BHP’s existing efforts to accelerate the development of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) at point sources of CO2 emissions, such as in steel making and power generation. “We have achieved progress in CCUS through partnerships, including with the International CCS Knowledge Centre in Canada and with Peking University. We also support REDD+, the UN programme for reducing atmospheric emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.”

She concluded: “Government support for technologies that capture carbon has been important. However mobilising private capital and supporting market mechanisms to finance technologies that address global emissions will be critical if we are to build a net-zero emissions economy. This investment is a good example of the role that the private sector can play in bringing such technologies to market.”

CE is privately owned and funded by investment or commitments from private investors – including Bill Gates, Murray Edwards, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures LLC, Chevron Technology Ventures, and BHP – and government agencies. To date, CE has led projects funded by Sustainable Development Technologies Canada, British Columbia Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp, Industrial Research Assistantship Program, and the US Department of Energy.