Tag Archives: pelletising

Nordic Iron Ore plotting entry into steel’s circular economy at Blötberget

With the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron having just been produced, most of the globe’s iron and steel companies are evaluating how they can continue to play a role in the steel-making industry of the future.

The HYBRIT project milestone in Sweden has global ramifications for a sector that is among the three biggest producers of carbon dioxide, according to McKinsey. Incorporation of fossil-free technology to produce ‘green iron’ that can lead onto ‘green steel’ is viewed as one of the ways the sector can clean up its act and stay relevant in a society that is increasingly focused on greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability.

Nordic Iron Ore, the owner of the Blötberget iron ore project in the Bergslagen mining region of Sweden, is one of a few companies blessed with the potential to produce higher-grade magnetite that could fit into this brave new steel-making world.

Paul Marsden, Technical and Marketing Advisor for Nordic Iron Ore, explains: “There is a lot of investment interest in Sweden and elsewhere for projects associated with these goals. We’re looking at how our place in that might work, but, as we have demonstrated that we can make products in excess of 71% Fe, I would suggest that we can definitely fit the bill.”

It is not only the grade of iron Nordic Iron Ore intends to produce that is in its favour in this regard; the asset it intends to extract ore from is a past producer, having last closed up shop in 1979.

The old headframe in Blötberget

The most recent estimates state that the company could produce upwards of 4 Mt/y of high-quality iron ore at full tilt from an underground operation. The initial development, Blötberget, is planned as an underground post pillar cut and fill (PPCF) mine using backfill to reduce surface impact and maintain the high-grade of the run-of-mine ore after extraction. Construction is envisaged to take around two years, with an aim to use as much of the project’s magnetite resources as possible.

“At the moment, we’re still going to be a niche producer with low tonnages,” Marsden told IM. “Phase one is likely to start at around 1.65 Mt/y, but phase two and three could get us up to 4-5 Mt/y of high-quality products.

“At the same time, we see ourselves fitting into a changing European steel scene where you have got to be looking at lower carbon output, higher productivity per unit and a move into pelletising or DRI (sponge iron) as a high priority.”

How the company will do this is still to be confirmed, but some of the recent agreements Nordic Iron Ore has signed indicate there is intent behind the ambitions.

It has enlisted the help of Paterson & Cooke to evaluate alternatives for its waste management process (fine tailings were previously anticipated to be deposited in an existing tailing dam) that “significantly reduces the environmental impact of the mining operations but is also attractive from an economic standpoint”.

It has enlisted the help of Sweden-based VB Energi to supply electricity to the site from renewable sources.

Nordic Iron Ore took part in the Smart Exploration project, an EU-funded collaboration between universities and companies from eleven countries. One of the project’s aims was to develop environmentally-friendly methods of geophysical exploration, with Smart Exploration teams conducting several evaluations at Ludvika Mines (part of the Blötberget project) using prototype equipment producing more accurate measurements primarily in the fields of seismology and electromagnetics

It has also signed an MoU with Epiroc Sweden, with the two companies cooperating on the mining project development.

Nordic Iron Ore’s CEO, Lennart Eliasson, said this OEM partnership, in particular, was important to the company’s aims of operating a modern mine able to deploy the latest technologies for high productivity and safety, and long-term sustainability.

Marsden provided a bit more background on this agreement: “The definitive feasibility study we had previously completed with Golder Group by the end of 2019 was what you would consider a ‘traditional mine’ – it included diesel-powered loading and haulage with operators. It wasn’t really what we were aiming for, but it gave us an economic study to go to market with.

“We have since had conversations with the likes of Epiroc, ABB and others at the forefront of pushing new technologies like automation, electrification and digitalisation. They are interested in producing a ‘showcase mine’ for Sweden.”

Marsden says there is potential for leveraging the technology learnings on projects such as LKAB’s Kiruna and Konsuln mines, Boliden’s underground operations and Lundin Mining’s Zinkgruvan operation to make Blötberget “future ready”.

He added: “We cannot automate and electrify it all from the off, but we can lay the groundwork to eventually automate and electrify just about everything in the mine.”

What the company needs now is backing from investors to solidify its plan for Blötberget.

Some $8-10 million should allow the company to assess improvements – the potential to access old resources close to a planned underground decline, earlier revenue generators such as toll treatment of high-grade concentrate, and right-sizing the process flowsheet – and bolster the team to see it through mine construction.

After that, it will be a matter of aligning with offtake partners intent on sustainable steel production with a premium iron ore concentrate that suits the industry’s ‘green’ sentiment.

Metso Outotec to deliver first integrated beneficiation and pelletising plant

Metso Outotec says it has signed a landmark contract for the delivery of an iron ore beneficiation and travelling grate pelletising plant to Africa.

While the parties have agreed to not disclose the value of the contract, the scope of delivery includes the engineering and supply of key process equipment for the beneficiation and pelletising plant.

In addition, Metso Outotec will provide site supervision and commissioning services and deliver automation and training for the project, which the OEM conducted early engineering works for in 2020.

“This new greenfield plant is the first integrated beneficiation and pelletising plant we are delivering globally,” Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area, said. “It will feature Metso Outotec’s sustainable proprietary technology, such as Low NOx burners to minimise emissions in the process, as well as state-of-the-art digital solutions, including our Optimus™ process optimiser and a green pellet-size control system.”

Metso Outotec captures fourth Chinese iron ore pellet plant order in 10 months

Metso Outotec has signed yet another contract to deliver its “environmentally sound” pelletising technology with Beijing Shougang International Engineering Technology Co Ltd (BSIET).

The greenfield iron ore pelletising plant to be located in Qingdao, China, will be operated by Qingdao Bangtuo New Materials Technology Co Ltd.

While the order value has not been disclosed, the contract has been booked into the company’s Metals’ June quarter orders received.

Mr Li, General Manager of BSIET’s Metallurgy Division, said: “Plant reliability and sustainable performance are key for all new pelletising plants being built in China. Metso Outotec’s technology has proven its excellence in several plants already, making it a good option for leading-edge pellet plants.

“Fast delivery time is also important. For example, the Bangtuo project will be completed within 17 months, including all steps from engineering to commissioning.”

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery covers the engineering and design of the indurating system, engineering of the process gas fan system, supply of proprietary equipment, instrumentation and control systems, as well as supervisory services and technical training. The Qingdao Bangtuo plant targets annual production of 4 Mt of pellets, with production expected to start in 2022.

Attaul H Ahmad, Vice President, Ferrous & Heat Transfer business line at Metso Outotec, said: “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank BSIET and our customers in China for their trust in Metso Outotec’s sustainable technology. This is the fourth pellet plant order in China we’ve received within 10 months, doubling our local pellet plant reference base from the four in operation amounting to almost 15 Mt of annual capacity to be built within the next two years.”

Metso Outotec’s traveling grate technology used in the pelletising plants ensures high performance and quality while significantly decreasing energy consumption and emissions, the company says.

Metso Outotec’s iron ore pelletising tech heading to BSIET’s ops in China

Metso Outotec has signed a contract with Beijing Shougang International Engineering Technology Co Ltd (BSIET) on the delivery of “environmentally-sound” technology for an iron ore pelletising plant to be built in southwest China.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery covers the engineering and design of the indurating system, engineering of the process gas fan system, supply of proprietary and key process equipment, instrumentation and control systems, as well as supervisory services and technical training. The core of the plant is Metso Outotec’s traveling grate pellet indurating furnace with a grate area of 432 sq.m.

Tobias Stefan, Vice President, Ferrous & Heat Transfer business line at Metso Outotec, said: “We are very pleased about this new order, and we are looking forward to working with the customer operating the steel plant and our long-term partner BSIET. This is the second pelletising plant contract we’ve received in China within six months, underlining the strong presence of our traveling grate technology on the Chinese market.”

Pellet production at the plant is estimated to start by mid 2022.

Metso Outotec says its traveling grate technology produces uniform pellets and ensures high performance and quality with low investment and operating costs, as well as low energy consumption and emissions.

Forte Demolition goes to work on chrome pelletising plant in Rustenburg

Forte Demolition Solutions, a subsidiary of surface materials handling expert SPH Kundalila, has started demolishing a chrome pelletising plant in Rustenburg, South Africa, following a recent turnkey contract award.

Forte says it is tackling the project with its specialised range of mechanical dismantling and demolition equipment.

Graeme Campbell, Group Commercial Operations Manager at SPH Kundalila, said: “Our investment in this equipment is substantial, making us the ideal partner for mines and other operations who need to address closure in a safe and sustainable manner.”

The plant to be demolished includes several multi-storey structures, conveyors, steel frames and concrete work, as well as large, heavy componentry, according to the company.

Campbell emphasised that Forte Demolition is one of few companies in South Africa with the necessary assortment of fit-for-purpose machinery and attachments. These ensure the cutting and breaking process is safe and efficient, allowing many components to be carefully dismantled for resale purposes.

“Among the factors behind our cost effectiveness is that we can shorten customers’ timeframes,” he said. “For example, our precision cutting is done by a shear attachment on an excavator. The power of hydraulics – combined with our specialised technology – means that everything is much quicker and safer.”

Equipment that is being employed on the pelletiser site includes a pulveriser for concrete demolition. It breaks concrete into small pieces that can be used as backfill on site, alleviating the need for transporting large concrete chunks to special dumping sites. Other specialised demolition attachments include grapples, hammers and buckets.

High levels of safety are ensured by an integrated safety, health, environment and quality management system, according to Brad van Niekerk, Project Manager at Forte Demolition Solutions.

“Safety is our key priority, which is enhanced by the closely supervised use of our mechanical equipment,” van Niekerk says. “This ensures that workers are not placed at risk by being too close to dangerous working environments.”

He notes that each project is planned and monitored by a skilled professional team, which takes the safest demolition approach. This is also aligned with customer standards to ensure full compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements. A 51% black-owned business and Level 2 B-BBEE contributor, Forte Demolition Solutions operates in South Africa through its offices in Fochville, Rustenburg, Stilfontein and Carletonville.

Outotec to help expand JSC Stoilensky GOK iron ore pelletising plant

Outotec says it and Russia iron ore pellet producer JSC Stoilensky GOK (S-GOK), which is a part of NLMK Group, have entered into a contract to expand S-GOK’s pellet plant located in Stary Oskol, Russia.

The approximately €15 million ($16.9 million) order has been booked in Outotec’s 2019 March quarter order intake, it said.

Outotec previously delivered the technology for S-GOK’s pellet plant, which has been in operation since 2017, but this latest contract will see the plant’s annual capacity go from 6 Mt to 8 Mt.

Outotec will be responsible for the engineering, supply of key equipment and automation system as well as advisory services for installation and commissioning of the expansion.

The company said its latest technology improvements in green pelletising, cooling air process, and pallet car changing system will be applied, together with a digital solution package. The deliveries will take place at the end of 2020.

Additionally, in 2019-2021, NLMK said it plans to boost ore production and beneficiation capacity by 14% via upgrades of Stoilensky’s other transformation stages with a view to ensuring stable supply of raw materials to the pelletiser after it reaches the output of 8 Mt/y. This will enable the company to increase its ore processing capacity from 37 Mt/y to 42 Mt/y and to increase its concentrate output from 17.3 Mt/y to 20 Mt/y.

Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business, said: “We are excited about continued cooperation with S-GOK and the delivery of our latest technology improvements and digital solutions to this project. With intelligent services, applications and equipment we ensure safety, predictability and optimal performance of the plant, and S-GOK will get the best value from their assets.”

Konstantin Lagutin, NLMK Group Vice President, Investment Projects, said Outotec was its long-standing and reliable partner, “with whom we successfully implemented Europe’s largest pelletising plant in Stary Oskol”.

“The new expansion project is an important element of our Strategy 2022, aimed at meeting our growing raw material needs as well as increasing efficient steel production,” he said.