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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: September 10th 2003

:: HIsmelt Signs Agreement for Technology Transfer into China  

HIsmelt Corporationís affiliate Technological Resources Pty Ltd (wholly owned subsidiaries of Rio Tinto) have signed a HIsmelt Process Licence with the Laiwu Steel Group Ltd of China to allow for the development of an ironmaking facility using world leading HIsmelt technology.

Through this agreement, Laiwu Steel plans to replicate the 800,000 tonnes per year HIsmelt Plant currently under construction in Kwinana, Western Australia. The new plant will be constructed at Laiwu City, Shandong Province, China.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Mr Chris Renwick, said the signing is a further vote of confidence in HIsmelt, as it represents the first external application of the HIsmelt process. Mr Renwick said "This agreement recognises the evolution of the HIsmelt technology which has been developed and demonstrated by Rio Tinto in Australia over the past ten years. It also reflects the growing awareness of the significant potential of the HIsmelt process to revolutionise ironmaking and provide a premium metallic for the global steelmaking industry. The agreement will be the first of many opportunities for the Chinese iron and steel industry to take advantage of this new technology. More importantly, it shows that the future is very bright for Australiaís deeper economic relationship with China."

HIsmelt is a high intensity direct smelting process in which iron ore fines and/or other iron containing materials and non-coking coals are injected directly into a molten iron bath to produce a high quality iron product. It is a potential replacement for the traditional blast furnace method of ironmaking and a new source of low cost high quality iron units for the electric arc steelmaking industry.

Construction of the Kwinana HIsmelt plant, which is owned jointly by Rio Tinto, Nucor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Shougang Corporation, commenced in January, with commissioning expected by the end of 2004.




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