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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: January 24th 2002

:: Kobe and Mesabi Developing New Ironmaking Technology  

Kobe Steel signed a memorandum of understanding with Mesabi Nugget to build a demonstration plant in northeastern Minnesota. The plant will use Kobe's ITmk3 ironmaking technology, a process that turns iron ore nearly pure iron.

Following the completion of a feasability study, plans call for the $22-million demonstration plant to be buillt at Northshore Mining's taconite plant in Silver Bay, MN.

The Mesabi Nugget project is expected to provide a mineral processing alternative for northeastern Minnesota's iron ore. For a low investment, iron ore can be turned into iron nuggets onsite and supplied directly to electric and blast furnace steelmakers as an alternative or supplement to pig iron.

The ITmk3 technology provides a flexible and environmentally friendly process for producing a high-purity iron product. In this process, iron ore fines and pulverized coal are formed into solid green pellets. These pellets are fed into a rotary hearth furnace and heated to 1,300 to 1,450 C (2,372 to 2 642 F). At this temperature range, the pellets are reduced and melted, enabling the iron to clearly separate from the slag.

The ironmaking process takes about 10 minutes. The resulting product is in nugget form, which can be continuously fed to melting furnaces. High-quality iron nuggets can be produced in a one-stage process.




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