New technology produces DRI from oolitic iron ores

first_imgIn 2011, Ironstone Resources contracted Hatch to develop a commercial process to extract iron from its Clear Hills iron and vanadium deposit located in the Peace River area of northwest Alberta, and to produce a direct-reduced iron (DRI) product for use as an iron feedstock for steelmaking. Clear Hills is one of the largest iron deposits of its kind in the world: 560 Mt with an average Fe content of 33.3%, and 2,500 Mt of vanadium pentoxide.Oolite is a sedimentary rock formed from ooids—spherical or egg-like particles with concentric layers.The project presents significant challenges, since no existing commercial technology is capable of economically processing oolitic-limonitic deposits, because of their high silica and phosphorus levels.In response, Hatch developed a novel iron-reduction process—the Hatch–Ironstone Chloride Segregation process (HICS). There will be considerable global interest in the development of this commercial pyrometallurgical process, since it could enable recovery of about 300,000 Mt represented by the world’s top 15 deposits of this type of ore.HICS has been demonstrated at the laboratory scale (3 kg/h), showing that the process is capable of producing commercial-quality DRI containing 90% Fe, 0.12% P, 0.3% C from Clear Hills oolitic iron ores containing 0.75% P and 25–30% Si. Metallising to such a high degree and reducing phosphorous to acceptable levels are clear differentiators of HICS versus other commercial processes.A conceptual economics study based upon the laboratory continuous tests is under way.The innovative new HICS process, being developed at the Clear Hills deposit in northwest Alberta, is expected to enable 300,000 Mt of iron production from similar deposits at 15 sites around the world. Hatch and Ironstone have worked closely with to define the commercial flowsheet for HICS. Hatch and FLSmidth plan to complete a second continuous pilot plant test to provide essential engineering information required as input for a decision to construct a demonstration plant at or near the Clear Hills site.last_img read more