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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: April 14th 2003


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:: Hismelt Looks Good in Western Australia  

At Kwinana, Rio Tinto is developing large scale production of pig iron using its revolutionary Hismelt process, after environmental approval was granted late last year by the Western Australian State Government for the construction of a new smelter. HIsmelt could eventually see the end of scores of old coking and sinter plants that threaten the environment throughout the world. It will also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

When production begins at the end of 2004, the new plant will initially process around 1.3 Mt of iron ore and 600,000 t of coal to produce about 800,000 t of high quality (96% Fe) pig iron each year. HIsmelt managing director, Duncan Price, says: "Hismelt has the potential to extend greatly the life of Western Australia's iron ore industry, as the technology allows efficient processing of fine ores with higher levels of impurities." HIsmelt is the most advanced direct smelting process so far developed. It converts iron ore to liquid pig iron through the injection of non coking coal and fine iron ore into a molten iron bath, and can also be used to smelt steel plant wastes efficiently.

Doing away with coking and sinter plants means that the large amounts of energy consumed by these processes can be conserved, and the greenhouse gases, nitrous oxides and sulphur bearing gases released by them can be avoided.




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