Tag Archives: HBI

Rio’s IOC to supply high-grade iron ore for low-carbon steel feedstock project

Rio Tinto, Paul Wurth SA and SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co (SHS) have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the production of a low-carbon steel feedstock.

This partnership brings together a leading global miner, an international leader in the design and supply of engineering solutions for integrated steelmakers and one of Europe’s best-known steelmakers, Rio said.

The partnership will explore the viability of transforming iron ore pellets into low-carbon hot briquetted iron (HBI), a low-carbon steel feedstock, using green hydrogen generated from hydro electricity in Canada.

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), in which Rio Tinto holds a majority interest, will supply high-grade iron ore and expertise in mining, processing and pelletising. Paul Wurth brings expertise in plant building and process knowledge in the field of highly efficient hydrogen generation and MIDREX® direct reduction plants. SHS brings iron- and steelmaking expertise.

Rio Tinto’s significant presence in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador makes Canada a natural location for the project, it said.

“Canada provides access to cost competitive hydro electricity, and proximity to key markets in Europe and North America,” the company said. “Transforming high-grade iron ore pellets into a low-carbon steel feedstock using green hydrogen, when processed in an electric arc furnace with carbon free electricity, has the potential to reduce significantly the carbon emissions associated with steelmaking.”

The parties will conduct a feasibility study into the potential development of industrial-scale low-carbon iron production in Canada, using the combined expertise of the three partners across the entire steel value chain. The feasibility study is scheduled for completion in late 2021, with an investment decision on a hydrogen-based direct reduction plant at industrial scale expected to follow thereafter.

IOC President and CEO, Clayton Walker, said: “This partnership is part of Rio Tinto’s climate strategy to pursue proactive and action-oriented partnerships to support the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate processes like steelmaking.

“We are absolutely committed to being part of the solution on climate change and to support our customers and other stakeholders in the steel value chain as the industry transitions to a low-carbon future.”

Georges Rassel, CEO of Paul Wurth SA, said: “By associating the different players of the metal production chain, we are confident to develop the most appropriate and efficient solutions for this challenging transition towards a carbon-neutral industry.”

Martin Baues, Member of the Board of Directors for Technology at SHS-Stahl-Holding Saar, said: “Dillinger and Saarstahl adopted a future-focused strategy with the motto ‘proactive, carbon-free and efficient’. Within this strategy, we have defined various options for the transformation to carbon-neutral steel production. The use of hydrogen in steel production is a key factor in reducing carbon emissions. This partnership can further help us to reduce our carbon emissions on the basis of this technology, while gaining important experience in using hydrogen in steel production.”

Cleveland-Cliffs commits to new greenhouse gas emission goals

Iron ore miner and steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs Inc has set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, with the use of carbon capture technologies and natural gas/hydrogen in the production of hot briquetted iron (HBI) just some of paths it is pursuing.

This goal represents combined Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emission reductions on a mass basis (t/y) compared with 2017 baseline levels.

Prior to setting this goal with its newly acquired steel assets from AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA, the company said it exceeded its previous 26% greenhouse gas reduction target at its mining and pelletising facilities six years ahead of its 2025 goal. In 2019, it reduced its combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 42% on a mass basis from 2005 baseline levels, it said.

Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We at Cleveland-Cliffs acknowledge that one of the most important issues impacting our planet is climate change. The American steel industry is one of the cleanest and most energy efficient in the world, and therefore the utilisation of steel Made in the USA is a decisively positive move to protect the planet against massive pollution embedded in the steel produced in other countries.”

He added: “In the past year, Cleveland-Cliffs has transformed itself into the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. As a company currently employing more than 25,000 people, the vast majority of them in good paying middle-class union jobs, our commitment to operating our business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner remains our priority.

“As we continue to grow the company going forward, we will vigorously pursue the opportunities we have outlined in our Greenhouse Gas Reduction Commitment, and will be transparent with our stakeholders by regularly reporting on our progress.”

Cleveland-Cliffs’ plan is based on its execution of the following five strategic priorities:

  • Developing domestically sourced, high quality iron ore feedstock and utilising natural gas in the production of HBI;
  • Implementing energy efficiency and green energy projects;
  • Investing in the development of carbon capture technology;
  • Enhancing its greenhouse gas emissions transparency and sustainability focus; and
  • Supporting public policies that facilitate carbon reduction in the domestic steel industry.

Only last year, Cleveland-Cliffs completed the construction of its first Direct Reduction Plant (pictured) to make it the first HBI producer in the Great Lakes Region of North America.

The company said: “To further reduce our GHG footprint at the new Direct Reduction Plant, we will evaluate partnering with hydrogen producers to replace natural gas use with hydrogen when it becomes commercially available in significant quantities.”

Without any modifications to the plant’s configuration, the company says it can replace up to 30% of the plant’s natural gas consumption with hydrogen to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 450,000 t/y.

“With limited equipment modifications and investments, we could increase hydrogen usage up to 70% and reduce over 1 Mt of GHG emissions per year,” it added.

The company said it is also currently working to implement numerous energy efficiency projects, which include, but are not limited to: improving furnace fuel efficiency; upgrading mobile mining fleet and locomotive engines to high efficiency/low emission models; investing in electrical energy efficiency projects; replacing traditional lighting with LED lamps; and cogenerating electricity from by-product gases.

Cleveland-Cliffs nears Northshore Mining expansion milestone

Cleveland-Cliffs says it will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the expansion at its Northshore Mining subsidiary, in Silver Bay, Minnesota, US, on August 7, as the $100 million upgrade nears completion.

The company will be celebrating the startup of the new production equipment, including supporting infrastructure, which will be completed on schedule and within the total investment budget of $100 million, it said. Cleveland-Cliffs invested in upgrading the concentrator building, a new scavenger building, new conveyor systems, a limestone tank and a steam generating plant to support large-scale commercial production of DR-grade pellets.

The company broke ground on the project in March 2018, with the execution of the project concluding after nearly 300,000 labour hours of work, it said. Construction jobs created for the project included 150 people employed at peak construction, which included management, craft and labour.

“With the conclusion of the project, Northshore Mining will be the only US-based iron ore processing facility to produce low silica DR (direct reduction)-grade pellets,” the company said.

The Northshore operation will immediately start to produce DR-grade pellet feedstock for Cliffs’ hot briquetted iron Plant in Toledo, Ohio, a $830 million investment that will be commissioned in mid-2020, as well as DR-grade pellets to be exported to “a new clientele of DRI (direct reduced iron) producers outside the US”, it said.