sponge iron industry –past-present-future - SIMA

sponge iron industry –past-present-future - SIMA

sponge iron industry –past-present-future - SIMA


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V S BAPNA<br />






V S Bapna<br />

B L Agrawal<br />

N K Patnaik<br />

Suresh Thawani<br />

G K Chhanghani<br />

Rajesh Gupta<br />

Sushil Maroo<br />

P L Mohanty<br />

P Mohanty<br />

T Srinivasa Rao<br />

V Ramachandran<br />

Prakash Tatia<br />

Narayan Tekriwal<br />

Amitabh Mudgal<br />

S S Bhatnagar<br />


The Indian economy has been growing from strength to<br />

strength and is expected to grow by 9% in 2010-11<br />

against 6.7% in 2008-09 & 7.4% in 2009-10. It is<br />

encouraging to see <strong>future</strong> projections that the economy<br />

shall continue to be robust and grow in double digits in<br />

the next few years.<br />

All indicators and authentic data show that the demand<br />

for steel will substantially grow from Infrastructure,<br />

Construction, Automobile & White goods sectors. These<br />

are all on an upswing and are supporting the consumption<br />

and demand of steel which is projected to steadily and<br />

strongly rise. Though the statistics forecast a promising<br />

<strong>future</strong> for the Indian Sponge Iron Industry, the ride may not be so smooth in the<br />

near to long term.<br />

In 2010,the Sponge Iron Industry faced unprecedented problems and struggled<br />

with sharp input cost increases with unmatched selling prices thereby putting<br />

tremendous pressure on the financial viability of most units. The situation has not<br />

changed much. The supplies of vital inputs namely Iron Ore, Coal and to some<br />

extent Natural Gas have been affected both in terms of availability & prices. To<br />

add to the hardships of Sponge Iron Manufacturers, poor infrastructure support is<br />

also increasing costs thereby putting further pressure and affecting the bottomline.<br />

We all know India has sufficient Iron Ore & Non Coking Coal based on which huge<br />

investments were made and large number of coal based units were established<br />

thereby making India the largest producer of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in the world. These<br />

inputs have now become a matter of serious concern. No doubt availability of<br />

natural gas is expected to improve in next 3-4 years but effective pricing policy<br />

here will play a very important role.<br />

The Indian Sponge Iron Industry is a very cost effective, efficient and high<br />

performance sector which is now passing through very critical times. With no clear<br />

cut policy initiatives from the Government for the sustained supply of the essential<br />

inputs, survival of the Industry is at stake, to meet the fast growing demands of<br />

quality metaliks by secondary steel sector in terms of National Steel Policy.<br />

<strong>SIMA</strong> has been regularly taking up the hardships being faced by the Industry with<br />

the Government authorities who are fully aware of the situation. However on this<br />

front very little has been done by the government to ensure raw materials availability<br />

in adequate quantities & affordable prices particularly Iron Ore.<br />

We are confident that with constant re<strong>present</strong>ations and through regular high level<br />

interactions, the Government will have to take some positive measures to give the<br />

much needed boost to the <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> sector which is the backbone of the<br />

secondary steel production.<br />

A study is being done by Ernst & Young on <strong>future</strong> sustainability of the Industry in<br />

collaboration with Tata Sponge. The report is likely to be ready by February, 2011<br />

and shall bring to light lot of facts for the consideration of the members and for<br />

making further recommendations to the Government.<br />

We sincerely hope that as in the past with your active participation and full support<br />

to <strong>SIMA</strong> the year 2011 shall usher in new prospects and prosperity.<br />

Wishing you and your family a very happy, bright, prosperous and fruitful<br />

business like 2011.<br />


During CY’2009, India accounted for 35% of global<br />

Sponge Iron production and once again, it has<br />

occupied the top slot for the past eight consecutive<br />

years, for being the largest producer of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

across the globe.<br />

The Indian <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> has come a long<br />

way but instead of resting on its laurels it is looking<br />

steady and subsequently focusing on broadening its<br />

scope of growth. With the country’s strong economic<br />

env<strong>iron</strong>ment poised for an upturn, the <strong>industry</strong><br />

prospects are certainly bright in time to come.<br />

However there are immense challenges ahead for<br />

the <strong>industry</strong>. The <strong>sponge</strong> Iron <strong>industry</strong> is highly<br />

fragmented. Growth of gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>, which<br />

is critical to growth of value added steel segment is<br />

constrained by high cost curve mainly due to pricing<br />

of natural gas and DR grade <strong>iron</strong> Ore ( key raw<br />

materials used for gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>) and non<br />

coking coal ( key raw material for coal based <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong>) . As high price of raw material impacts the bottom<br />

line of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> producers making it unviable<br />

compare to other metalliks.<br />

Currently <strong>iron</strong> ore market is unquestionably in a state<br />

of flux, as everyone who opens a paper or watches<br />

the business news is aware, <strong>iron</strong> ore prices have been<br />

violently volatile. This very volatility is in large part<br />

what killed off the decades old annual price contracts<br />

which dominated the <strong>iron</strong> ore trade. This year the<br />

annual contract was announced officially dead and a<br />

quarterly price formula was introduced based on spot<br />

prices in the preceding months.<br />

This shift in price model of <strong>iron</strong> ore trade in year 2010,<br />

has completely messed up the growth of global steel<br />

<strong>industry</strong> and India is no exception. Steel <strong>industry</strong><br />

being cyclic in nature, the good period benefit under<br />


this new price model is now<br />

being exploited by the miners by<br />

regulating their <strong>iron</strong> ore price<br />

under quarterly mechanism.<br />

These basic issues will have to<br />

be addressed if we want a vibrant<br />

and viable <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> sector.<br />

Our immediate task will be to<br />

tackle the problem of poor availability and<br />

unprecedented price hike of <strong>iron</strong> ore, which is in<br />

complete disparity with the finished steel prices.<br />

Concurrently, given the large coal-based capacity that<br />

already exists – the coal and coal mining sectors need<br />

to be given a substantial boost.<br />

Then there are the other endemic infrastructure<br />

constraints- by way of power availability, cost, severe<br />

transportation bottlenecks, lack of port infrastructures,<br />

shortage of railway rakes etc.<br />

Clearly, we are talking about the need for a very<br />

comprehensive approach. Every factor impinging on<br />

the Steel <strong>industry</strong> right from raw material to energy<br />

to transportation needs to be addressed for<br />

sustainable growth of Indian <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>.<br />

<strong>SIMA</strong> has been taking these issues with the<br />

government at various forums. <strong>SIMA</strong> role has been<br />

of facilitator and providing solutions and a link<br />

between its members and govt. As different problems<br />

have different solutions but the ultimate objective<br />

should be to nullify barriers and to increase efficiency,<br />

productivity and growth.<br />

Wishing you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year<br />

V S BAPNA<br />




It is an acknowledged fact that the plant availability<br />

in Indian Sponge Iron Sector has been under strain<br />

due to inconsistent supply of raw materials like <strong>iron</strong><br />

ore and non-coking coal, both quantitatively and<br />

qualitatively. In view of this there is a strong case to<br />

plead for:<br />

a. Earmarking rich grade <strong>iron</strong> ore deposits to<br />

clusters of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plants.<br />

b. Providing right incentives towards utilization of<br />

low grade <strong>iron</strong> ore fines on large scale through<br />

adequate beneficiation & pelletizing facilities.<br />

c. Priority allocation of high grade non-coking Coal<br />

Blocks to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plants with an overriding<br />

consideration that such blocks serve the purpose<br />

of power generation also through waste heat<br />

gases of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> kilns.<br />

d. Ensuring better grade coal linkages to <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> plants in the absence of allocation of Coal<br />

Blocks, and<br />

e. Putting up state-of-the-art coal washeries to<br />

beneficiate mined coal/linkages to prepare coal<br />

of right specification for feeding to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

plants.<br />

Sponge Iron in India : Production Scenario<br />

There has been an inspiring track record of growth<br />

of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> in India during the last<br />

decade. Today India is the global leader as the largest<br />

producer of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>.<br />

The following are recently recorded production<br />

figures:-<br />

Year Production of TotalA + B<br />

Sponge Iron (in Million<br />

(in Million Tons) Tons)<br />

Gas Coal<br />

Based Based<br />

A B<br />

2008 - 09 5.28 16.05 21.33<br />

2009 - 10 6.17 16.82 22.99<br />

Source : <strong>SIMA</strong><br />

B. L. Agrawal, Managing Director, Godawari Power & Ispat Limited<br />

In view of significantly high level of production,<br />

Sponge Iron has become now a key ingredient for<br />

secondary steel making.<br />

While enhancing the production of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

through gas based route is quite restricted owing to<br />

limited availability of gas, our mainstay would be coal<br />

based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>.<br />

The impediments of Indian Sponge Iron Industry<br />

Presently the <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> in India is<br />

constrained due to:-<br />

1. Low metallization of DRI because of relatively low<br />

grade <strong>iron</strong> ore available in the market.<br />

2. Short campaign life of DRI Kilns due to the use<br />

of low grade <strong>iron</strong> ore compounded with higher<br />

ash content of linked non-coking coal.<br />

3. Generation of high volume of ash and coal char<br />

in DRI process posing threat to env<strong>iron</strong>ment, and<br />

4. Generation of substantial <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> fines<br />

particularly where soft <strong>iron</strong> ore is used.<br />

Iron Ore for Sponge Iron production:-<br />

While there are adequate reserves of <strong>iron</strong> ore, our<br />

infrastructural supports are not geared to meet the<br />

demand of DRI plants. Excessive fines are generated<br />

in the process of crushing <strong>iron</strong> ore to produce the<br />

required size range of calibrated lumps. These fines<br />

are not gainfully utilized and <strong>present</strong>ly exported at<br />

throw away prices. To enhance our resource base<br />

the solution lies in beneficiating the fines to above<br />

65% Fe content and pelletizing the same.<br />

Pelletization is the agglomeration of very fine, often<br />

beneficiated, raw materials with spherical products<br />

of preferably 9 – 16 mm diameter with defined<br />

properties for use in DRI kilns.<br />

Briefly, the Pelletization process consists of<br />

i. Feed Preparation<br />

ii. Green Ball Production<br />


iii. Green ball induration by drying, pre heating &<br />

firing, and<br />

iv. Cooling of hardened pellets.<br />

Such pellets would have the following advantages<br />

over raw <strong>iron</strong> ore:-<br />

l The rotary kiln can produce about 20% more<br />

without any changes in design.<br />

l Specific consumption of coal will come down by<br />

about10%<br />

l Campaign life will increase substantially to the<br />

tune of about 50%<br />

l As there will be no accretion and no fused lump<br />

formation, the refractory repairing cost will be<br />

reduced by 50%<br />

l Metallization will be better compared to a situation<br />

where lump ore is used.<br />

l There will be less fines in the finished product..<br />

l There are no losses of handling <strong>iron</strong> ore, as<br />

pellets will not break during transport or<br />

handling,and<br />

l There will be better working env<strong>iron</strong>ment.<br />

Before pelletizing the <strong>iron</strong> ore fines, it is essential<br />

that a suitable beneficiation plant is put up adopting<br />

a process flow sheet based on the following test work<br />

to optimize the degree of combination of gravimetric<br />

and magnetic separation processes.<br />

l Chemical analysis of the samples (Fe(t), FeO,<br />

, P, LOI)<br />

SiO ,Al O<br />

2 2 3<br />

l Weight percentage size fraction wise.<br />

l Sizing of the – 38um material using ultrasonic<br />

bath screening at 20um, 10um & 5um.<br />

l Bulk density and specific gravity determination<br />

l Density characterization of the – 32+8 mm and –<br />

8+0.15 mm material using the Mineral Density<br />

Separator (MDS)<br />

l Heavy Liquid Separation test work on the – 32+8<br />

mm and – 8+1 mm material<br />

l Elutriator (hindered setting) test work on – 1+0.15<br />

mm and – 0.15 mm fractions<br />

l Compressive and tensile strength<br />

l Bond work indices<br />

l Angle of Repose<br />

l Magnetic susceptibility<br />

l Flotation on the fine material, if required, and<br />

l Mineralogical evaluation of sample to understand<br />

the liberation characteristics of the material<br />

A typical feed specification and product specification<br />

in case of <strong>iron</strong> ore beneficiation plant appears at<br />

Annexure – 1.<br />

In this context it is also pleaded that a part of rich<br />

grade <strong>iron</strong> ore deposits provide dedicated linkages<br />

to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plants, as many of these are<br />

graduating to mini steel plants filling a significant void<br />

of shortfall in production through primary steel sector.<br />

Annexure-2 and Annexure-3 furnish general<br />

flowsheets of <strong>iron</strong> ore beneficiation and pelletising<br />

plants.<br />

Non-Coking Coal for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plants<br />

The properties of non-Coking Coal which are relevant<br />

for use in <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> making are:-<br />

a. Parameters related to Proximate Analysis:-<br />


There is acute shortage of high grade non-coking<br />

coal like ‘B’/’C’ grade suitable for making <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong>. These units by sheer compulsion use low grade<br />

(‘F’ grade) coal due to non-availability of right linkages<br />

of coal of superior grade.<br />

To ensure that <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plants get the right type<br />

of coal, quality Coal Blocks should be earmarked for<br />

ANNEXURE - 1<br />



<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> clusters. It is strongly recommended to<br />

use the beneficiated coal by bringing the ash level<br />

below 25%. This is possible by employing state-ofthe-art<br />

technology of coal washing using dense<br />

media cyclone circuit.<br />

Feed Specification Product Specification<br />

Fe: 59.06% Fe:>65%<br />

SiO : 5.88% SiO :

ANNEXURE - 3<br />

General flow diagram of a Pelletizing Plant<br />

With best complements from<br />


Head Office<br />

19, Guru Nivas, Aishwarya Colony, Cantonment, Bellary 583 104<br />

Phone: 08392 245080/243431 Fax: 08392 243446<br />

Email: rayen@rayensteels.com<br />

Works<br />

Sy. 1115 D&E, Haraginadoni Road,<br />

Veniveerpur Village, Bellary District, Karnataka<br />

Phone: 094495 98785/094495 98788<br />




Thomas M. Scarnati, Manager (Mktg. & Sales)<br />

Tenova HYL, Mexico<br />

The world’s first Micro-Module is now in full operation<br />

at Gulf Sponge Iron, LLC in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This<br />

new plant is designed to produce 200,000 tons per<br />

year of highly metallized, high carbon DRI, and opens<br />

the door for interesting possibilities for the Indian DRI<br />

market.<br />

The tendency in the direct reduction <strong>industry</strong> has<br />

been for plants to grow in capacity to take advantage<br />

of economies of scale. This is evident in new<br />

ENERGIRON plants – the two modules at Emirates<br />

Steel are each of 1.6 million tpa capacity in single<br />

modules, although the first module has already<br />

proven to be able to produce close to 2.0 million tons<br />

per year. The plants under construction at Ezz Steel<br />

and Suez Steel in Egypt are of 1.9 million tons per<br />

year capacity, and new projects are under way in<br />

different regions with similar sized plants as well as<br />

plants with capacities of 2.5 million annual tons in a<br />

single unit.<br />

For the small steelmaker, this is of little consequence<br />

since steel mills with capacities of under 1 million<br />

annual tons of liquid steel cannot justify the<br />

investment for such a large DRI facility. For this<br />

reason, Tenova HYL developed the Micro-Module<br />

concept – a high efficiency, low cost DR module for<br />

producing 200,000 metric tons per year of high quality,<br />

high carbon DRI. In fact, the Indian market was taken<br />

specifically into account when designing this type of<br />

plant. Since India has a widespread coal-based DR<br />

<strong>industry</strong> that caters to the small steelmakers and to<br />

the commercial markets for DRI, it is the major market<br />

where such a small plant can be a viable option. The<br />

env<strong>iron</strong>mental problems associated with current coalbased<br />

DR plants in India make it necessary to<br />

consider a technology shift to satisfy the demand for<br />

DRI, but with clean, more efficient technology.<br />

The Micro-Module is a unique concept in today’s<br />

<strong>industry</strong>, designed for small <strong>iron</strong> and steel making<br />

production facilities but at an investment cost per ton<br />

of product that is in line with that of much larger<br />

installations.<br />

GSPI Micro-Module provides high carbon DRI in<br />

a small capacity module<br />

The first of this type of plant was built and put into<br />

operation for Al-Nasser Industries at their GSPI plant<br />

in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The concept is an Energ<strong>iron</strong> ZR<br />

plant configuration with no gas reformer and a<br />

compact, efficient plant design to produce DRI of<br />

e”94% metallization and carbon typically around<br />

3.6%. The investment cost, despite the small size of<br />

the plant, is only slightly above the capex per ton of<br />

capacity as that of a large (>1.0 million tpa) plant.<br />

While the Micro-Module is of higher capital investment<br />

than the current coal-based plants used in India, it<br />

offers not only more capacity but also clean operation,<br />

higher quality, higher commercial prices for the<br />

product since demand is greater, and is an investment<br />

which will pay for itself in a short number of years.<br />

Additionally, it complies with the strictest<br />

env<strong>iron</strong>mental regulations and the possibility of<br />

having CO as a saleable by-product and/or as CO -<br />

2<br />

2<br />

credits.<br />

Gulf Sponge Iron Micro-Module DRI Plant at<br />

Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, UAE<br />


GSPI Plant Configuration<br />

The GSPI plant was designed to use both <strong>iron</strong> ore<br />

lump and pellet feed, in any combination up to 100%<br />

of either material. The current feedstock is GIIC<br />

pellet.<br />

The design is based on the ZR or reformerless<br />

process developed by Tenova HYL, in which the insitu<br />

reforming, reduction and carburization reactions<br />

occur within the reduction shaft. By eliminating the<br />

need for an external natural gas/steam reformer, the<br />

plant is able to be designed for a much smaller area<br />

and requires less equipment. The ZR process allows<br />

the use of any hydrocarbon reducing agent, either<br />

direct feeding of natural gas, or – if available or<br />

convenient – the use of syngas or COG is possible.<br />

GSPI commissioned the plant in March 2010. The<br />

core reduction plant was provided by Tenova HYL,<br />

in partnership with Electrotherm India Ltd. and<br />

including various sub-suppliers, i.e., the CO Removal<br />

2<br />

System was designed by BASF, detail engineering<br />

was supplied by SNC Lavalin and Civil engineering<br />

was under the charge of MN Dastur.<br />

The plant includes basically, the DR reactor, process<br />

gas heater, recycle gas compressor, cooling gas<br />

ejector, CO2 removal system, water systems,<br />

material handling system and distributed control<br />

system (DCS). The GSPI plant is also equipped with<br />

a complete laboratory for Process Quality Control.<br />

Power supply for the plant is 11 KV and 6.6 KV fed<br />

from the ESL supply feeder, with a 220 KV supply<br />

line for power requirements for lighting, air<br />

conditioning and minor equipment needs. There is<br />

also a 350 KVA supply for emergency standby power<br />

for utilities and critical pumps when needed.<br />

The water requirements for the plant are 750 m 3<br />

per<br />

day, and the plant has a reservoir capacity of 2000<br />

m 3<br />

, with water being sourced from Abu Dhabi<br />

Distribution Company (ADDC).<br />

GSPI Performance<br />

Since the plant entered full operation, the product<br />

quality has in all cases been better than the<br />

guaranteed or expected levels in both chemical and<br />

physical properties. This can be seen in Tables 1<br />

and 2 comparing actual results to the plant guarantee<br />

figures. In July of 2010 the plant successfully<br />

completed its performance test, exceeding<br />

parameters in all aspects and is now in full operation<br />

mode. Performance during the test averaged 27 tons<br />

per hour of high quality, high carbon DRI, with<br />

metallization levels of 91 to 95% and carbon content<br />

from 3.1 to 4.0% as <strong>iron</strong> carbide.<br />

Current operation since startup has been with 100%<br />

pellet feedstock from GIIC. The plan is to begin use<br />

of a mix of lump ore with pellets in the near <strong>future</strong>,<br />

with the aim of reducing overall <strong>iron</strong> ore costs for the<br />

plant, since it is already proven that HYL Energ<strong>iron</strong><br />

process plants can easily use lump ore in any<br />

proportion up to 100% lump ore charges. The high<br />

carbon DRI product is being used at the adjacent<br />

meltshop (Emirates Steel Co.), also owned by the Al<br />

Nasser Group.<br />

Guaranteed Actual<br />

Fe(T) % 90 Min 91<br />

Fe(M) % 84 Min 85.5<br />

Metallization % 93 Min 94<br />

Carbon % 3 + 0.2 3.2<br />

Sulfur % 0.015 Max. 0.005<br />

Phosphorous % 0.045 Max 0.035<br />

Table 1. – GSPI Direct Reduced Iron Chemical<br />

Properties<br />

Properties DRI<br />

Size + 25 mm 2% Max<br />

- 25 + 3 mm 93%<br />

- 3 mm 5% Max<br />

Bulk Density 1.7 to 1.8 T/M 3<br />

target Actual<br />

Sulfur % 0.015 Max. 0.005<br />

Phosphorous % 0.045 Max 0.035<br />

Table 2. – GSPI Direct Reduced Iron Physical<br />

Properties<br />


GSPI Micro-Module Control Room<br />

Gulf Sponge Iron Micro-Module DRI Plant<br />

at Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, UAE<br />

GSPI Quality Control Laboratory<br />




S.C. KHATTOI, Managing Director<br />


Way back in 1980 <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> entered in to<br />

Indian market as an alternate route of steel making.<br />

India having good quality <strong>iron</strong> ore and non coking<br />

coal, the Sponge Iron process got stabilised with time.<br />

The standard size of coal base plant used to be 300<br />

to 350 tons per day and 0.1mt per year. The plant<br />

cost used to be high due to some imported<br />

components used in the kiln & cooler. Gas base DRI<br />

plants using shaft kilns came closer to gas source in<br />

the west coast. The production capacity of single gas<br />

base units used to be two million tons per year &<br />

investment used to be very high. Hence limited<br />

number of gas based shaft kiln came in to existence.<br />

The main focus came to coal based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

plants. Designers increased the capacity from 300tpd<br />

to 500tpd for each kiln by increasing the equipments<br />

size but the project cost still remained high. Lurgi’s<br />

pilot plant of 100tpd at Andhra Pradesh, which was<br />

set for testing Indian raw material, produced<br />

30,000tons per annum. This small size became a<br />

viable model without having pollution control<br />

equipment in the off gas system. Some old cement<br />

kilns were modified to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> units at a much<br />

lower cost. Then started mushrooming of Sponge<br />

Industries all over India. It is either nearer to <strong>iron</strong> ore<br />

source or coal source. The pollution level remained<br />

very high and was viewed leniently by government<br />

officials considering the new technology and<br />

industrial growth of the country. The higher capacity<br />

plants had ESP or Quencher scrubber as pollution<br />

control measure for their waste gas from the<br />

installation stage. Smaller plants even though<br />

installed the Pollution control equipments much latter<br />

like ESP and bag filters, still <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> units are<br />

considered as highly polluting industries to-day.<br />

Rotary kiln method became predominated in coal<br />

based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> units. There are only few rotary<br />

kilns which have the capability to use coal, oil and<br />

gas individually or in combination. One major<br />

technological development was introduced by the<br />

author in the early days is to feed coal from discharge<br />

end by means of lean phase pneumatic conveying.<br />

The fresh carbon from discharge end coal helped to<br />

stabilize the process. It increased the kiln capacity<br />

by reducing coal quantity from the feed end which<br />

made space for <strong>iron</strong> ore. Presently this coal injection<br />

is a part of the whole system. Use of <strong>iron</strong> ore fines<br />

from 2mm to 6mm was also injected from discharge<br />

end. The maximum capacity went up to 2 tons per<br />

hour through dense phase conveying and it was<br />

discontinued after one year due to vigilant process<br />

control requirements.<br />

The raw material like <strong>iron</strong> ore, coal, limestone,<br />

dolomite used to tumble inside the kiln from 6.0Hours<br />

to 10.0Hours at 1050º C. The size of the raw material<br />

and its mean particle size became a major factor as<br />

smaller kilns have a retention time of 6.0 Hours.<br />

Different size kilns optimised their raw material sizes<br />

depending upon the residence time inside the kiln.<br />

As the raw material and product both used to tumble<br />

inside the kiln and cooler, a lot of fines are generated.<br />

To reduce the fines generation, the selection of raw<br />

material became stringent. Ore was selected on the<br />

basis of its higher tumbling index, meaning hard and<br />

massive ore. The minimum Fe content was fixed as<br />

65% and tested for its reducibility character.<br />

Magnetite ore was rejected due to its structure as<br />

Fe3O4 and required a higher temperature for<br />

reduction. Considering all the required properties,<br />

specific <strong>iron</strong> ores are declared as <strong>sponge</strong> grade and<br />

restricted its use in the blast furnace. Similarly<br />

selection of coal was done mainly on ash fusion<br />

temperature and fixed carbon; the other properties<br />

considered are its reactivity, volatile matter & sulphur<br />

content. Good steam coal of B & C grade was<br />

declared as metallurgical coal for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

making. Government was requested to preserve<br />

similar coal for metallurgical use rather than using it<br />

in boilers of power plants and railway steam engines.<br />

At the beginning the <strong>iron</strong> ore size used to be +6mm<br />

to -40mm. Due to process optimisation the size<br />

reduced to 25mm from 40mm in few years time and<br />

remained for some period. Then the size changed<br />

to 22mm and afterwards to 20mm and continued with<br />


it. Smaller kiln preferred the size to be maximum<br />

16mm where as bigger kiln at 20mm. since the upper<br />

limit drastically reduced, the fines(-6mm) generation<br />

in crushing went up to 40% while producing<br />

calibrated ore ( +6 to -16mm). To increase the<br />

usability of ore, the lower cut off line changed to<br />

+5mm instead of +6mm. Hence the main calibrated<br />

ore produced by the crushing unit became +5mm to<br />

– 16mm OR +5mm to -20mm depending up on the<br />

requirement and the fines generation came down to<br />

35%. Different crushing methods were adopted and<br />

cone crushers were used to further bring down the<br />

fines (-5mm) generation below 35%. Even with all<br />

those high set parameters, <strong>iron</strong> ore cost still remained<br />

much lower in comparison to coal cost. It used to be<br />

a buyers market for <strong>iron</strong> ore.<br />

High grade steam coal was available at the beginning<br />

of the <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> industries but with increasing<br />

number of units, there were shortage of high coal.<br />

Getting linkage from Coal India became difficult.<br />

Necessity being the mother of invention, trial started<br />

with E & F grade coal. The process became<br />

successful, at the cost of product quantity. A 100tpd<br />

plant produced 80tpd and a campaign life of 60 to<br />

90days. The cost of E & F grade coal being low and<br />

availability is high; it opened a new scenario for<br />

industries survival. Coal Washery became a<br />

necessity to improve the coal quality from E & F<br />

grade. Some units installed hydraulic Batac Jigs to<br />

up grade the coal by gravity separation. Many<br />

merchant coal washeries came into existence for up<br />

grading the E & F grade coal for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> kilns.<br />

The washery used- heavy media separation, Hydro<br />

cyclone, Hydro zigging, pneumatic zigging, x-ray and<br />

gamma ray shorting methods. The main recovery<br />

used to be low, the middling went to power plants<br />

and the rejects for land filling. The cost of washed<br />

coal in a washery became high without rejects being<br />

used in the power plant. All the options remained<br />

with the user including the availability of imported<br />

coal to make it cost effective.<br />

At the beginning in 1984 the profit margin in <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>industry</strong> was very low as scrap is the major raw<br />

material for arc and induction furnaces. The use of<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in the furnaces increased slowly, the<br />

price picked up so is the profit margin. The sales<br />

price of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> got linked to scarp and it varied<br />

depending upon scrap market. The average profit<br />

margin remained for some time until mines owners<br />

started their own <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>. The<br />

profitability from mines to <strong>sponge</strong> became clear to<br />

them. They decided to transfer the profit from <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>industry</strong> to <strong>iron</strong> ore mines. Then the cost of <strong>iron</strong> ore<br />

started shooting up. It exceeded much more than<br />

coal cost and merchant <strong>sponge</strong> manufacturers had<br />

difficulties in keeping the plant running. Then started<br />

the forward and backward integration of individual<br />

units for their survival but this <strong>industry</strong> never<br />

remained lucrative any more. Power plant from the<br />

waste heat became a silver lining for all <strong>sponge</strong><br />

industries. Sale of power to grid or use in own steel<br />

melting unit kept the plants rolling. Power sale<br />

through national grid was more beneficial than selling<br />

to local distributors which have a low tariff rate.<br />

In the recent past years steel market shoot up very<br />

high so is the <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> rate. But mines owner<br />

linked the ore price to <strong>sponge</strong> price which again<br />

affected the profitability of the unit. The main profit<br />

went to the mines owner. If the cost of making the<br />

calibrated ore from mines is within Rs 2000/-per ton,<br />

the sales price went up to Rs 5000/-per ton. The<br />

financial stability of each mine owner became very<br />

high and ore being a non perishable item they<br />

dictated the terms. The buyers market changed to a<br />

sellers market. Government having no control over<br />

the sales price, again the merchant <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> unit<br />

became sick. To over-come the situation, low grade<br />

<strong>iron</strong> ore having 62 to 63% Fe content which was once<br />

a rejected material became the main raw material.<br />

Some plants started using soft ore of +10mm to -<br />

40mm considering the ore will break in tumbling<br />

inside the kiln to smaller sizes and reduce to Fe<br />

metallic. As the price of this ore being low, it gave<br />

some profit margin at the cost of sacrificing the<br />

campaign life. This process continued for some time<br />

until the same practice adopted by many plants and<br />

the mines owner increased the ore price.<br />

To day all the Sponge Iron plants are becoming sick<br />

as <strong>iron</strong> ore price are high. Coal prices have also gone<br />

up due to Coal India policy. Availability of good coal<br />

and <strong>iron</strong> ore is scarce and prices are very high. The<br />

sales price of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> is low. Iron ore fines cost<br />



is relatively low since it is monitored by export market.<br />

The grade of <strong>iron</strong> ore fines has also gone down from<br />

65% Fe to 55% Fe. The alternate route for survival<br />

is beneficiation and pelletisation from low grade fines.<br />

In <strong>present</strong> scenario there are many pellet plants<br />

which are coming up with higher capacity. Some of<br />

them are already commissioned and some of them<br />

are under construction. After commissioning of all<br />

the plants, there may be short fall of <strong>iron</strong> ore fines<br />

for pellet making, without any export. It is presumed<br />

that the ore fines availability is likely to go up more<br />

than 28.8 million tons produced last year. As the<br />

demand for ore fines will increase, the prices are<br />

likely to go up. Many mines have already reached<br />

the level where the mining product is more of fines<br />

and blue dust than lumpy ore. They themselves are<br />

putting up pellet plants. So the same story of <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> is likely to repeat.<br />

The choice left is to beneficiate the ore fines. The<br />

lumps from mines is crushed to produce the<br />

calibrated ore and it should go to the kiln directly.<br />

Fines generated in the process of crushing should<br />

go for beneficiation. After the beneficiation the <strong>iron</strong><br />

ore powder becomes concentrate and requires<br />

agglomeration as pellet or briquette for further use.<br />

But instead producing indurate pellet and then<br />

converting it to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>, it is better to convert<br />

directly to <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> through tunnel kiln or rotary<br />

hearth furnace. The process of tunnel kiln and rotary<br />

hearth furnace are different but both use coal for<br />

reduction and coal producer gas for heating. The<br />

energy used in Pellet making is around 30 lit per ton<br />

which is saved when direct <strong>sponge</strong> is produced in<br />

tunnel kiln from the ore concentrate or ore powder<br />

from mines. Tunnel kiln product is more suitable for<br />

induction and arc furnaces where as Rotary hearth<br />

furnace product is more suitable for arc furnaces.<br />

The Tunnel kiln technology and rotary hearth furnace<br />

technology is already in the market and will be<br />

starting in India very soon.<br />

The Itmk3 which produces <strong>iron</strong> nugget has started<br />

since 2004 and has successfully produced this year.<br />

There are few modifications carried out this year to<br />

declare it as commercial plant. Itmk3 will have an<br />

edge over rotary hearth furnace. The further<br />

development in rotary hearth furnace is to transport<br />

the hot <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in to the melting furnace or to<br />

make HBI instead of cooling it.<br />

The HISMELT is a continuously process of directly<br />

melting <strong>iron</strong> ore fines up to 100micrones. It has a<br />

minimum capacity of 8,00,000 tons per year. It<br />

operates with semi- anthracite coal and to produce<br />

one ton liquid metal it require 1.7 t of ore with 62%<br />

Fe , 700kg coal , 260 m³ oxygen, 4-5 m³ water, 32<br />

to 35 MW power and 100 to 150kg of lime or dolomite<br />

which is directly melted in the SRV (Smelter<br />

Reduction Vessel) furnace. The plant can generate<br />

30-35 MW power from its waste heat. When 50%<br />

Indian coal having 25% ash is mixed with 50%<br />

imported coal and used in the SRV without pre heater<br />

then the capacity reduces to 0.36 mtpy. The HI-Smelt<br />

process has got a promising <strong>future</strong>.<br />

Apart from much other process, Midrex is going to<br />

put a synthetic gas plant from coal and a vertical<br />

shaft kiln to produce <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>. The plant is very<br />

much capital intensive. The other process like Energy<br />

Iron and Oxycup smelter use <strong>iron</strong> ore fines to produce<br />

the liquid metal. They will also enter to the market<br />

soon.<br />

In <strong>future</strong> the plants which have either <strong>iron</strong> ore mines<br />

or coal block will survive and others will have hard<br />

time to continue. This scenario was well visualised<br />

10 years back which has become the reality of today.<br />


From a meager production of 1.31 million tons<br />

of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in 1991-92 to <strong>present</strong> production<br />

level of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> of over 22 million tons in<br />

2009, where world DRI production reached<br />

64.4 million tons, India once again, led all<br />

nations for consecutively 8th year in <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> production with more than one-third of the<br />

world total production of 64.4 million tones.<br />

Indian production of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> has continued<br />

its steady increase in recent years.<br />

Approximately seventy percent of this is via<br />

coal-based DR units and 30% via gas-based.<br />

Three producers operate gas-based DRI and<br />

HBI plants, with a combined capacity of<br />

approximately 6MMT/yr, significantly lower<br />

than coal-based plants, although with much<br />

higher productive capacity and productivity per<br />

plant. There have been historical reasons in<br />

India for the prosperity of coal-based DRI<br />

production over gas-based: India does not<br />

have ample reserves of natural gas, and what<br />

is currently available is mainly on the west<br />

coast. Coal, on the other hand, is abundant<br />

and lower grade coals can be used without<br />

difficulty. In terms of capital cost, a coal based<br />

DR unit is generally small in capacity and can<br />

be installed and operated with a much smaller<br />

investment.<br />



Globally there are two types of technologies<br />

available for producing <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>.<br />

l Coal based<br />

l Gas based<br />


Ravindra S Borwankar, Asst. Vice President (Mktg.) Welspun Maxsteel Ltd.<br />

In the Coal based, coal is the reductant while<br />

in Gas based natural gas is used to reduce<br />

the <strong>iron</strong> ore. For coal based rotary Kiln<br />

processes several technologies like SL/RN,<br />


in use while gas based plants have<br />

predominantly used MIDREX,HYL I and III<br />

technologies. As Natural gas is not available<br />

in many parts of the world, the growth of coal<br />

based plants have increased in those countries<br />

like India (where natural gas is available to a<br />

limited extent) where there is abundance of<br />

non coking coal and good grade Iron ore.<br />

Source : Midrex tech.<br />

Figure I: Break up of world Sponge <strong>iron</strong> production<br />

by process<br />


Figure I clearly depicts the break up of world<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> in 2009. It is clearly<br />

evident that the % share of gas based <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> is much higher vis-à-vis coal<br />

based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>. Globally gas<br />

based technology is prevailing and coal based<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> is primarily from India<br />

MIDREX – Technology – Gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

(mainly due to abundant availability of non<br />

coking coal).<br />



- HYL III / Energ<strong>iron</strong><br />

COAL BASED - SL / RN<br />

The MIDREX® Process consists of three major stages: 1) reduction, 2) reforming and 3) heat<br />

recovery.<br />

Reduction<br />

Iron oxide, in pellet or lump form, is introduced<br />

through a proportioning hopper at the top of<br />

the shaft furnace. As the ore descends through<br />

the furnace by gravity flow, it is heated and<br />

the oxygen is removed from the <strong>iron</strong> (reduced)<br />

by counter flowing gases which have a high<br />

H2 and CO content. These gases react with<br />

the Fe2O3 in the <strong>iron</strong> ore and convert it to<br />

metallic <strong>iron</strong>, leaving H2O and CO2. For<br />

production of cold DRI, the reduced <strong>iron</strong> is<br />

cooled and carburized by counter flowing<br />

cooling gases in the lower portion of the shaft<br />

furnace. The DRI can also be discharged hot<br />

and fed to a briquetting machine for production<br />

of HBI, or fed hot, as HDRI, directly to an EAF,<br />

as in the HOTLINK® System.<br />

Reforming<br />

To maximize the efficiency of reforming, off gas<br />

from the shaft furnace is recycled and blended<br />

with fresh natural gas. This gas is fed to the<br />

reformer, a refractory-lined furnace containing<br />

alloy tubes filled with catalyst. The gas is<br />

heated and reformed as it passes through the<br />


tubes. The newly reformed gas, containing 90-<br />

92 percent H2 and CO, is then fed hot directly<br />

to the shaft furnace as reducing gas.<br />

Heat Recovery<br />

The thermal efficiency of the MIDREX®<br />

Reformer is greatly enhanced by the heat<br />

recovery system. Sensible heat is recovered<br />

from the reformer flue gas to preheat the feed<br />

gas mixture, the burner combustion air and the<br />

natural gas feed. In addition, depending on the<br />

economics, the fuel gas may also be preheated<br />

Process Advantage<br />

l World Wide commercial use<br />

l Proven performance<br />

l Raw material flexibility<br />

l CO2 reformer eliminates need for steam system,<br />

reformed gas quench, reducing gas heating and<br />

CO2 removal system.<br />

HYL - Technology – Gas based Sponge <strong>iron</strong><br />

The HYL plants operate with <strong>iron</strong> ore, <strong>iron</strong> oxide<br />

pellets or mixture of the Two and natural gas.<br />

The main equipment of HYL-III comprises a<br />

DR shaft furnace, a gas reformer, and a gas<br />

reheater. The principles of operation of the<br />

furnace are similar to the midrex shaft furnace<br />

described previously.<br />

Continuously descending <strong>iron</strong>- bearing<br />

material is reduced in an upper zone by the<br />

counter current flow of gas, which is rich in<br />

carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Reduction is<br />

accomplished by reaction of the reducing gas<br />

which is introduced through a distribution<br />

system around the circumference of the shaft<br />

at an intermediate height.<br />

A proper selection of <strong>iron</strong> oxide feed stock<br />

permit operation at 950 °C. After reduction, the<br />

hot DRI continues to descend through a<br />

constant pressure zone, which separates the<br />

upper reducing zone from the lower cooling<br />


zone. The DRI is cooled to below 50°C by an<br />

independent gas stream. The cooling gas is<br />

withdrawn at the top of the cooling zone, after<br />

cooling, cleaning and compressing. This gas<br />

is recirculated at the bottom of the shaft<br />

furnace. The composition and temperature of<br />

gas flow to the shaft furnace are carefully<br />

controlled to permit independent control of the<br />

metallization and carbon content of the DRI. It<br />

is claimed that a high reduction temperature<br />

and the formation of an <strong>iron</strong> carbide shell<br />

protect the DRI from spontaneous re oxidation<br />

. Like Midrex , there is provision for hot<br />

briquetting facilities in the system.<br />

The HYL III shaft furnace operates at about<br />

54 kg/cm 2 (5atm) for this reason, the design<br />

incorporates special pressure lock system for<br />

charging <strong>iron</strong> oxide feed materials at the roof<br />

and for discharging cold DRI at the bottom.<br />

Possible advantages of high pressure<br />

operation are enhanced reduction kinetics,<br />

higher gas throughput, and condensation at<br />

elevated pressure which lowers the moisture<br />

SL/RN technology for Coal based <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong><br />

content of the re circulated top gas. Insofar as<br />

reducing gas is concerned, the HYL IlI process<br />

employs catalytic steam reforming of natural<br />

gas. As in the original HYL process excess<br />

steam is used, the reformed gas is cooled to<br />

condense water, which increases the carbon<br />

monoxide plus hydrogen content to a high<br />

percentage .The sensible energy of the<br />

reformed gas is recovered during cooling by<br />

heat exchangers to the steam system. The<br />

usual heat recovery system in the flue gas<br />

stack of the reformer and gas re heater is also<br />

used. The cold reformed gas is mixed with<br />

compressed top gas from the shaft furnace<br />

This top gas had previously been processed<br />

to remove a substantial part of its moisture and<br />

particulates. The mixed reducing gas is then<br />

reheated and introduced in to the shaft furnace<br />

along with natural gas, excess shaft furnace<br />

of gas (over that amount re circulated the<br />

process) is used as fuel in the reformer and<br />

gas heater.<br />


Process Advantage<br />

l Proven performance<br />

l Raw material flexibility<br />

l Conventional steam reforming<br />

l Selective elimination of H2O & CO2 from the<br />

reducing gas circuit allows maximum recycling<br />

of reducing gases to the reduction reactor<br />

l High pressure operation reducing circulating gas<br />

volumetric flow at high molar<br />

l Flexibility to generate electric power by high<br />

pressure steam produced in the reformer.<br />

The SL/RN process is a kiln based process<br />

that uses lump ore, pellets, beach sand or<br />

ilemnite ore and solid carbon to produce hot<br />

or cold DRI. The process operates at high<br />

temperature and atmospheric pressure. This<br />

is the most widely used coal based direct<br />

reduction process.<br />

Process Description<br />

The <strong>iron</strong> oxides feed to a SL/RN kiln is in the<br />

form of lump or pellet <strong>iron</strong> ore , reductant (<br />

low cost non –coking coal) and limestone or<br />

dolomite ( to absorb sulfur <strong>present</strong> in the<br />

reductant) .The rotary kiln is inclined downward<br />

from the feed ( elevated end) to the discharge<br />

end . The discharge end is provided with a<br />

burner to be used for startup or to inject<br />

reductant. Typical retention time are around<br />

10 hrs. The kiln is divided into 2 process<br />

regions ; preheat and reduction . In the preheat<br />

section , the charge is heated to about 1000C<br />

, free moisture is first driven off and reduction<br />

to FeO occurs . As the reductant is heated ,<br />

volatile components are released and part of<br />

the gases are burnt in freeboard above the bed<br />

by the air injected into the kiln. This combustion<br />

transfers heat to the charge directly by<br />

radiation , and also by conductive heat transfer<br />

from the kiln lining , which is first exposed to<br />

the flame and heated before contacting the<br />

charge. The charge then passes into the<br />

metallization or reduction zone ,where the<br />

temperature is maintained at about 1100C ,<br />

depending upon the types of charge used. The<br />

final metallization is about 88% and carbon is<br />

about 0.1 – 0.2% .<br />

Process advantages<br />

l Use of any <strong>iron</strong> bearing material<br />

l Wide variety of reductants<br />

l Proven DRI technology<br />

l Economic production of DRI<br />

New Capacity and Plants Under<br />

Construction<br />

Table below indicates the additional new<br />

capacities coming up in gas based<br />

technologies in the world .Approx 19.14 million<br />

tones would be the capacity addition by 2012<br />

-13 ( considering all the plants are completed<br />

on time) . Midrex and HYL / Energ<strong>iron</strong> are the<br />

primary technologies mostly accepted in the<br />

world. As per Midrex report numerous rotary<br />

kiln furnaces would begin operation by 2012<br />

as capacity would rise by 3.2 million tons per<br />

year, almost all within India.<br />


C – Indicates under construction<br />

Source : Midrex tech.<br />


IN INDIA<br />

So far growth of gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

<strong>industry</strong> in India has been stagnant with mainly<br />

3 plants operating. Primary reasons for this<br />

stagnancy are low availability and high pricing<br />

of natural gas as compared to Middle East<br />

countries, High initial capital investment etc.<br />

High Priorities of allocating Natural Gas mainly<br />

given to power, transport, fertilizer, domestic<br />

users etc compared to Sponge <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>.<br />

This situation could, however, change in the<br />

near <strong>future</strong> and natural gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong><br />

<strong>industry</strong> in India would have something to<br />

cheer for. Looking at demand / supply gap of<br />

natural gas, govt. of India is taking some<br />

serious initiatives. Huge investments are<br />

announced in laying down extensive pipeline<br />

network for natural gas across the country to<br />

meet the growing demand. As per map of India<br />

below in annex I , highlighting the network of<br />

natural gas pipeline ( existing , proposed and<br />

<strong>future</strong> proposed ). As more gas lines become<br />

available in time to come, definitely availability<br />

of natural gas would not be a major area of<br />

concern for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>. Along with<br />

this availability and by setting up some strong<br />

policies framework by the Indian government<br />

toward strengthening India’s gas based<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong>, natural gas and<br />

alternative natural gas based technologies of<br />

DRI production could experience a boom in<br />

India. Also, considering the env<strong>iron</strong>mental<br />

issues, which Indian and global steel <strong>industry</strong><br />

is facing, natural gas based <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> will<br />

certainly be the metallic of <strong>future</strong>. This metallic<br />

will certainly redefine the steel <strong>industry</strong> from<br />

being a polluting to nonpolluting <strong>industry</strong> in the<br />

time to come.<br />


Annexure I<br />

Map of Natural Gas pipeline<br />

Source : Petroleum and natural gas regulatory board – India<br />


REPORT ON <strong>SIMA</strong> DELEGATION TO CHINA 14-10 NOVEMBER 2010<br />

A nine member <strong>SIMA</strong> delegation led by Mr. B L<br />

Agrawal, Vice Chairman and Mr. S S Bhatnagar,<br />

Executive Director visited China during 14-19<br />

November 2010 to explore alternative technology<br />

options for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> making. The objective was<br />

to evaluate the technologies that utilize <strong>iron</strong> ore fines<br />

and are pollution free. Two technology routes, viz<br />

Rotary Hearth Furnace (RHF) and Tunnel Kiln<br />

process were studied.<br />

On 15 th<br />

November the team visited Rizao Steel, the<br />

second highest producer of liquid metal in private<br />

sector in China. It has a capacity of 20 MT per year.<br />

The steel plant generates lot of solid waste. They<br />

have installed two nos of RHF. Each one is having a<br />

input capacity of 2,00,000 tons per year <strong>iron</strong> bearing<br />

waste material. Waste of coke ovens having carbon<br />

bearing material is used along with the other waste.<br />

One furnace was under maintenance and the second<br />

one had gone for a forced shutdown on the previous<br />

night due to fusion of briquettes inside the RHF.<br />

All the <strong>iron</strong> bearing material is dried in a rotary drier<br />

at 200 O<br />

C. Dust from coke oven having 30% carbon<br />

is added to the <strong>iron</strong> bearing dust in a proportation<br />

and mixed thoroughly in a vertical mixture. Organic<br />

binder is added in the vertical mixture. The output<br />

from mixture machine is converted to briquettes in a<br />

briquetting machine. Then these are transported by<br />

a tubelar belt conveyor and fed to the RHF. The<br />

briquettes are layered on the RHF moving bed. As<br />

the bed rotates, the briquettes pass through a pre<br />

heat zone & reduction zone, before getting<br />

discharged to a rotary cooler by means of a screw<br />

feeder. At this transition point nitrogen gas is<br />

continuously charged for sealing.<br />

The briquettes are cooled in the rotary cooler and<br />

discharged to a pan conveyor at 100 O<br />

C. It is then<br />

transported in that metallic pan conveyor to the<br />

storage bin where DRI fines and briquettes stored<br />

separately.<br />

On 16 th<br />

November team went to China Iron & Steel<br />

Research Institute Group (CISRI) along with Sinokiln.<br />

There was a warm welcome by host CISRI. The main<br />

point of discussion was on the raw materials as the<br />

existing plant operates on steel plant waste material.<br />

To check the Indian raw materials, CISRI wanted to<br />

make all required tests in their laboratory and<br />

accordingly design the RHF on payment basis. CISRI<br />

have already designed another three nos of RHF<br />

which are under construction in China. The capacity<br />

of Rizao Steel single RHF as specified by CISRI is<br />

1,50,000 tons to 1, 60,000 tons of DRI per year with<br />

an input capacity of 2,00,000 tons per year.<br />

The power consumption as mentioned was 10 MW<br />

for two units and nitrogen consumption is 6600 NM/<br />

hr. Nitrogen requirement for cooler sealing is 250<br />

NM3/hr and rest Nitrogen is utilised for gas line<br />

instrumentation etc.<br />

On 17 th<br />

November meeting was conducted in the<br />

office of Sinokiln Engineering & Technology (Beijing)<br />

Co. Ltd. along with CISRI Engineers. Commercial<br />

terms and few technical issues were discussed.<br />

Charging of hot DRI from RHF to furnace was<br />

discussed. In the new design CISRI have given<br />

provision for making HBI below the discharge of RHF<br />

and in the <strong>future</strong> they will go for hot charging. They<br />

are also considering to produce power from the waste<br />

heat of RHF. The meeting was organized and<br />

concluded with lunch hosted by Sinokiln.<br />

On 18 th<br />

three members went to see Tunel kiln of<br />

CBRF Technology Group Co. Ltd. (CBRF) in<br />

operation at Jinan along with Mr. Chand of Interglobal<br />

Projects & Construction Co. (IPCC). Visit was<br />

completed in the first half and they came back to<br />

Beijing in the evening. On 19 th<br />

morning there was<br />

meeting with Mr. Chunlai Yang, Chairman CBRF. The<br />

doubts on capacity were raised and it was clarified<br />

that the Jinan plant can give 35,000 tons/year per<br />

kiln with only ore fines with right mixture. To achieve<br />

50,000 tons per year the kiln length needs to be<br />

increased. Depending upon the raw materials and<br />

other requirements the kiln can be modified/<br />

redesigned to suit Indian raw material conditions.<br />

From the visit it is now technically clear that for higher<br />

capacity RHF is suitable and lower capacity tunnel<br />

kiln is suitable. Project cost of RHF will be much higher<br />

than Tunnel kiln. It is difficult to conclude the<br />

production cost in RGF until actual trials are<br />

completed.<br />

Member delegates felt that <strong>SIMA</strong> to conduct similar<br />

technical visits to other countries for the benefit and<br />

exposure of their members.<br />


<strong>SIMA</strong> DELEGATE TO CHIN<br />


A 14-10 NOVEMBER 2010<br />





Sidheswar Jena, AGM(ITS) to the left and Bijayananda Das, Manager(Operation) to the right<br />

receiving CII-IT Awards 2010 from Shri Mukul Somany, Chairman, CII (Eastern Region)<br />

Tata Sponge has bagged CII – Orissa IT Awards 2010<br />

for successful implementation and use of<br />

eLOGBOOK(electronic logbook) software for process<br />

control. The software has been developed in-house<br />

by the Information Technology Department and<br />

successfully deployed with the help of Operation<br />

Department for the DRI process in all its 3 Kilns.<br />

Coal based DRI plants often experience problems<br />

with respect to formation of accretion resulting in<br />

reduced production rate & shorter campaign life,<br />

fluctuation in product quality, high coal consumption,<br />

etc. The problem is compounded with deteriorating<br />

quality of coal and <strong>iron</strong> ore particularly for<br />

manufacturers compelled to use multiple sources of<br />

raw materials with deteriorating and varying quality.<br />

The operator is faced with frequent changes in the<br />

input characteristics affecting process stability and<br />

is required to often manipulate large number of<br />

parameters to maintain a stable process condition,<br />

which is a very difficult task.<br />

eLOGBOOK software captures all data from<br />

laboratory analysis, PLC systems, and SAP ERP<br />

application into a single repository and provides<br />

information such as user friendly queries, trends and<br />

correlated trends, and critical process parameters online<br />

to the operator for better process control. The<br />

company has realized significant benefits from this<br />

application as it evident from the marked<br />

improvements in campaign lives & capacity<br />

utilizations during 2009-10 which is being sustained<br />

during the current financial year too.<br />



7TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEET - O<strong>SIMA</strong> 2010<br />

Seated from Left to Right : Sri N.K. Burma Director O<strong>SIMA</strong>, Sri P.L. Mohanty Chairman O<strong>SIMA</strong>, Sri. Raghunath<br />

Mohanty Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Steel and Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Orissa as a<br />

Chief Guest, Sri S.S. Bhatnagar, Executive Director <strong>SIMA</strong><br />

The 7th Annual General Meet was held in Hotel the<br />

Crown at Bhubaneswar on 27th August 2010 at 11.00<br />

AM. Sri. Raghunath Mohanty Hon’ble Minister of<br />

Industries, Steel and Mines and Parliamentary Affairs,<br />

Government of Orissa attended the AGM as Chief<br />

Guest. Sri S.S. Bhatnagar, Executive Director <strong>SIMA</strong><br />

was the Guest of Honor in this function. Outgoing<br />

Chairman Sri P.Mohanty attended the meeting. Sri<br />

P.L. Mohanty Chairman O<strong>SIMA</strong> was on the chair<br />

along with Director Sri N.K. Burma<br />

Sri P.Mohanty outgoing Chairman gave the welcome<br />

address.<br />

Sri P.L.Mohanty Chairman, O<strong>SIMA</strong> delivered the key<br />

note address.<br />

Sri S.S. Bhatnagar, Executive Director <strong>SIMA</strong> spoke<br />

on the <strong>present</strong> and <strong>future</strong> prospects of Sponge<br />

Industry in the country. Sj. Raghunath Mohanty<br />

Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Steel and Mines told<br />

that the state of Odisha is having the distinction of<br />

being the largest Sponge producer in the country.<br />

He also told that as the <strong>future</strong> of the steel in the world<br />

is very bright the importance of Sponge production<br />

can’t be minimized. At the same time he assured the<br />

house of all Govt. assistance to this sector as far as<br />

practicable. He advised the Industry owners to<br />

concentrate on social activities improve on plantation<br />

and env<strong>iron</strong>mental building. Sri N.K. Burma Director,<br />

O<strong>SIMA</strong> gave vote of thanks.<br />




Emergence of India as one of the very strong<br />

economy is to a great extent led by the overall growth<br />

of the steel segment, particularly the secondary steel<br />

manufacturing segment. It is an era when India is<br />

drawing focus for global investment in all important<br />

sectors. Overseas steel giants are in the process of<br />

setting up steel plants in India, while Indian corporate<br />

is preparing to launch their respective dream projects<br />

in the steel sector. The phenomenal domestic growth<br />

of the secondary steel segment during the decade<br />

practically created an unprecedented record.<br />

However, with operational constraints and<br />

government policy related problems the segment has<br />

suffered frequent setbacks, despite the ups and<br />

downs; the growth curb of steel segment had always<br />

shown an upward trend. Thus, <strong>future</strong> of steel in India<br />

awaits to unfold yet another phase of growth and<br />

prosperity.<br />

Focus of this article is to depict an outline of<br />

secondary steel <strong>industry</strong> in India, entrepreneurship<br />

of Indian entrepreneurs, favourable factors for growth<br />

and the market receptiveness. The secondary<br />

<strong>industry</strong> has witnessed upheavals and may also face<br />

various other problems for raw materials,<br />

incompatibility in logistics, state level restrictions etc.<br />

but overall sustainability of the segment will receive<br />

a boost in the perspective of recent growth in Iron<br />

ore Pellet and Iron Ore Beneficiation. Practically top<br />

line producers in this segment either have<br />

implemented or in the process of implementing pellet<br />

and <strong>iron</strong> ore beneficiation projects for their own<br />

consumption and excess production to be marketed.<br />

This development will result in easing number of<br />

constraints. Availability of manufactured raw material<br />

like <strong>iron</strong> ore pellets in adherence to <strong>industry</strong><br />

acceptable specification instead of mined ore and<br />

beneficiated <strong>iron</strong> ore will not only ease the raw<br />

Pradip Sen, Executive Director<br />

Sree Metaliks Limited<br />

material problems, it will be more logistic and<br />

env<strong>iron</strong>ment friendly.<br />

When reviewed properly the Secondary Producers<br />

Segment is quite diverse in terms of composition,<br />

spread, capacity level, capacity utilization and<br />

product-mix. The segment takes into its fold the<br />

following manufacturing activities in different capacity<br />

level;<br />

1. Mini Blast Furnace based<br />

2. Sponge <strong>iron</strong> producers<br />

3. Induction Furnace (IF)<br />

4. Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)<br />

5. Re-rolling (RR) units<br />

6. Hot Rolled (HR) units<br />

7. Cold Rolled (CR) units<br />

8. Tin plate units<br />

9. Galvanized/Color coated units<br />

10. Wire-Drawing units<br />

In terms of number of units in operation and<br />

production capacity there has been substantial growth<br />

in number of units and production capacity of pig <strong>iron</strong>,<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>, IF and RR segments, whereas<br />

downstream processing units, have seen little or no<br />

growth. In the flat steel category, galvanized/coated<br />

segment have recorded the maximum growth.<br />

Sponge <strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> in the mineral-rich belts of the<br />

country has registered phenomenal growth.<br />

Mushrooming’ of growth had started most markedly<br />

after 2002 Number of factors contributed to this<br />

growth are relative low cost of investment, ease of<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> plant implementation, clear-cut<br />


technology of direct reduction, better quality in endproduct;<br />

availability of mineral resources, availability<br />

of labor as well as professional technical expertise<br />

etc. The most critical aspect of the emergence of the<br />

Secondary Steel Sector is that in recent times, they<br />

have taken lead in driving the growth.<br />

The reasons for the tremendous growth of the <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> <strong>industry</strong> world over could be attributed to the<br />

advantages of using <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in electric arc<br />

furnaces, partly substituting scrap, the conventional<br />

charge to the furnaces. Further, the use of <strong>sponge</strong><br />

<strong>iron</strong> in other steel<br />

manufacturing processes has also been well proven.<br />

The advantages of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> are given below;<br />

1. Uniform known composition<br />

2. Low levels of residuals/tramp elements<br />

3. Low content of dissolved gases<br />

4. Uniform size and higher bulk density as compared<br />

to scrap<br />

5. Capability of forming protective cover of foamy<br />

slag in the bath<br />

6. Lower refining requirements of steel produced<br />

7. Potential of sensible heat recovery from waste<br />

gases<br />

8. Possibility of producing variety of steels<br />

The other aspect of the importance of Secondary<br />

Producers is their geographical spread - the<br />

emergence and presence of this heterogeneous<br />

group of units, with their varied commodity basket in<br />

different parts of the country, have helped steel reach<br />

the common man and of course, the local <strong>industry</strong>,<br />

aiding in turn, the growth of regional <strong>industry</strong> and<br />

hence, the overall economy.<br />

State-wise analysis of data shows that the Western<br />

region dominates the production scenario in case of<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> followed by the East and the South. The<br />

situation includes both coal and gas based units. In<br />

case of crude steel, the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)<br />

segment leads in the Western region followed by the<br />

North and the East. Southern region comes last but<br />

presence there is insignificant. For Induction Furnace<br />

(IF), the pattern of rankings of the regions (based on<br />

their share in total production) in case of the IF<br />

segment is similar to the EAF – West, North, East<br />

and South. However, the respective shares are<br />

different with Southern region having a more<br />

significant presence in case of IF than EAF. For the<br />

Re-rolling <strong>industry</strong>, catering to the needs of the Indian<br />

construction sector, the Northern region leads by a<br />

margin compared to the West followed by the<br />

Southern region and East following closely<br />

All these make it imperative to enquire into the<br />

prospects of growth for the Secondary Sector. Setting<br />

apart the diversity, one finds that segments like<br />

Sponge Iron, Induction Furnace and Re-rolling are<br />

poised for fresh spurt in expansion – which entails<br />

challenges and issues to be addressed. For example,<br />

for <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong>, where there have been a major<br />

mushrooming of coal based units in the mineral rich<br />

states, the prospect for <strong>future</strong> growth is bright having<br />

a direct linkage with growth in steel. However, the<br />

main challenges facing this segment are acquiring<br />

adequate quantity of <strong>iron</strong> ore and proper grade of<br />

coal and dealing with env<strong>iron</strong>mental issues.<br />

Similarly, for Induction Furnace segment, low<br />

investment cost and flexibility in operation are major<br />

edges for this leading consumer of coal based DRI.<br />

Prospect for <strong>future</strong> growth is directly tied with growth<br />

in its downstream consumer <strong>industry</strong> (Re-rolling) and<br />

in turn, would encourage growth in DRI <strong>industry</strong>.<br />

Moving over to the Re-rolling segment, challenges<br />

include facing the market downs, especially prices<br />

and operational factors like high energy consumption.<br />

Prospect for <strong>future</strong> growth may be considered bright,<br />

given the pace and scale of infrastructure /<br />

construction activities<br />

Such prospects are captured in the projections for<br />

the 11 th<br />

Five Year Plan of the Government of India,<br />

which indicates that share of Secondary Producers<br />


in total crude steel production would rise from the<br />

<strong>present</strong> below-50% mark to 53% at the end-of the<br />

plan period, as the Secondary sector consolidates<br />

their position further.<br />



New product developments<br />

Sabyasachi Mishra, Managing Director<br />

Introduction<br />

Allmineral Asia, a Kolkata based subsidiary of<br />

Allmineral GmbH, Germany came into existence<br />

in June 2009 and has made deep in-roads into the<br />

mineral beneficiation sector in India. It is equipped<br />

with world class technologies, both dry& wet, in<br />

beneficiation of coal, <strong>iron</strong> ore and other minerals to<br />

provide complete beneficiation solutions-concept to<br />

commissioning.<br />

In coal application, allmineral has unique dry jigging<br />

with no process water requirement. Additionally, with<br />

wet jigging & multi-stage heavy media separation<br />

system (Tri Flo ®), allmineral is the only company to<br />

provide such varied technologies to Indian coal<br />

<strong>industry</strong>. In <strong>iron</strong> ore too, allmineral has solutions for<br />

very low grade ores as well as from lumps to ultra<br />

fines.<br />

Allmineral Gmbh, one of the world leaders in mineral<br />

beneficiation, with its head quarter at Duisburg,<br />

Germany has subsidiaries in USA, South Africa,<br />

Poland and is re<strong>present</strong>ed in more than 20 countries<br />

through licensees & agents etc. Allmineral has<br />

worldwide successful installations, in countries like<br />

USA, Europe, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Australia<br />

etc. Over the years, Allmineral has sold more than<br />

from allmineral<br />

Dr.Heribert Breuer, Chairman<br />

400 nos. alljigs, 100 nos. Allflux, 50 nos. allair and<br />

50 nos. WHIMS, worldwide.<br />

New Product Developments<br />

A Quantum Jump - gaustec´s new X-type Mega-<br />

WHIMS in operation with 700 tph :-<br />

It took Gaustec 5 years - from the first industrial unit<br />

to the biggest WHIMS ever built. And once again the<br />

Itaminas Mine in the heart of the Brazilian <strong>iron</strong><br />

quadrangle in the state of Minas Gerais is the place<br />

to be. Where everything started in 2005 with a 120<br />

tph gaustec 3200 the new Mega- WHIMS gaustec ®<br />

GX 3600 went into operation in July this year, at a<br />

capacity of 700 tph. Not by coincidence again the<br />

area of one of the largest <strong>iron</strong> ore deposits in the<br />

world became the birthplace of this new class of giant<br />

magnetic separators, where huge mining activities<br />

require huge equipment capacities.<br />

From the very first moment up to now gaustec is<br />

convincing the customers with simple but intelligent<br />

solutions, from operators for operators. The<br />

implementation of numerous improvements to the<br />

well known JONES- WHIMS concept were honored<br />

by the market. Easier maintenance, less energy<br />

consumption as well as more flexibility by means of<br />

more parameters to adjust, i.e. better performance,<br />


led to more than 50 gaustec ® - WHIMS sold in five<br />

years only.<br />

And now with the new model capacities per unit have<br />

doubled at almost the same footprint, the same<br />

weight, the same energy consumption and the same<br />

efficiency, of course:<br />

The new gaustec ® - GX 3600 with capacities from<br />

360 to 800 tph¹).<br />

At the Itaminas plant the new gaustec ® -GX 3600 is<br />

fed with hematite <strong>iron</strong> ore < 1 mm with a feed grade<br />

of about 54 % Fe and 23 % SiO 2 at a rate of 700<br />

tph, 50 % solids. The product of this cobber stage is<br />

further upgraded in a second, already existing<br />

gaustec ® -G 3600 to a final product of plus 66 % Fe<br />

and less than 3.0 % SiO 2 . The tailings of the cobber<br />

stage are fed to a gaustec ® - GHP 150, which works<br />

as a scavenger, producing tailings with about 18 %<br />

Fe and 60 % SiO2. With the <strong>future</strong> introduction of a<br />

grinding circuit for better liberation it is expected that<br />

the <strong>iron</strong> in the tailings can be reduced to less than<br />

10 % Fe, since by now only natural <strong>iron</strong> ore fines are<br />

processed.<br />

In addition to the general features of gaustec ® -<br />

WHIMS like<br />

l Independently adjustable magnetic fields of the<br />

rotors of up to 15.000 Gauss<br />

l Easy access to rotors for maintenance<br />

l Controlled feed distribution through improved<br />

feed box design<br />

l Optimized spray boxes for product washing of<br />

higher efficiency at less water consumption<br />

The gaustec ®<br />

-GX 3600 offers even more technical<br />

and economical advantages:<br />

l Lower specific CAPEX and OPEX per ton of feed<br />

l Less ancillary equipment required<br />

l Simplified processing flow sheet and plant layout<br />

That´s why the X in the new gaustec ® -WHIMS not<br />

only symbolizes the new pole arrangement but leads<br />

the way to increased benefits for the mineral <strong>industry</strong><br />

by making use of the high capacity gaustec ® - GX<br />

technology.<br />

¹) figures for <strong>iron</strong> ore, depending on feed<br />

characteristics, to be confirmed by test work<br />

Photo description “Gaustec - 3600 | Itaminas,<br />

Brazil|<br />

Tri Flo ® - the new generation multi-stage heavy<br />

media DMS<br />

Allmineral Asia Pvt Limited, has tied-up with the<br />

Italian company Ecomin S.r.l for providing new<br />

generation Tri-Flo technology-a multistage heavy<br />

media system for beneficiation of high ash Indian<br />

Coals. The Tri-Flo ® technology uses a multi-stage<br />

heavy medium separator and has several<br />


advantages over the conventional heavy media<br />

cyclones. It is an ideal technology for the high ash<br />

& high NGM Indian coals. The Tri-Flo ® has a very<br />

high sink capacity and produces three products in<br />

one vessel, thus improving separation efficiency,<br />

simplifying plant layout i.e. requiring less space and<br />

reducing overall capital costs. Additionally, in this<br />

system the material is fed at an atmospheric<br />

pressure separately from the dense medium.<br />

This results in very low wear & tear compared to<br />

conventional heavy media system and thus resulting<br />

in reduced overall operating costs.<br />

The Tri-Flo is a proven technology with more than<br />

30 nos. commercial plants operating worldwide<br />

mainly in mineral processing. This technology is now<br />

attracting the interest of coal beneficiation plant<br />

operators and designers due to its unique features<br />

that better deal with the problems posed by modern<br />

coal mining methods, lower run-of-mines (ROM)<br />

quality and rejects rewashing. The Indian non-coking<br />

coals have a very high range of quality variation in<br />

feed. The Tri-Flo ® Technology with a double stage<br />

separation can better adapt to the Indian coals and<br />

provide a more consistent product at higher yields<br />

with reduced wear & tear and thus resulting in better<br />

plant availability.<br />

Allmineral | Asia having additionally dry jigging<br />

technology (Allair ® ) and wet jigging technology<br />

(Alljig ® ), has already made deep in roads into the<br />

Indian Mineral beneficiation market. With the Tri-<br />

Flo ® technology in its bag, it is the only company<br />

in India to offer such a varied range of<br />

technologies to the Indian coal and minerals<br />

<strong>industry</strong>.<br />

Advantages of Tri-Flo Technology<br />

The Tri-Flo technology has numerous advantages<br />

over the competitors’ technologies. Advantages<br />

are reported below.<br />

Two, Three, or More Product from One Vessel<br />

The Tri-Flo is a multistage separator in one vessel<br />

with reduced capital cost (buildings, piping, etc.) and<br />

operating cost, if compared with the same multiple<br />

density traditional circuit. The Tri-Flo rewashes the<br />

float stream of the previous stage where the<br />

separation is repeated and operates like a rougher-<br />

cleaner in coal preparation or as a rougherscavenger<br />

in ore separation.<br />

The second or following stage can be:<br />

l A final bye-product (i.e. premium coal, power plant<br />

coal, and rejects)<br />

l Comminuted to improve the liberation and reprocessed<br />

for increased recovery<br />

l Re-circulated to head feed for sharper separation<br />

in difficult applications<br />

Energy cost of pumping is reduced by up to 50% if<br />

compared with traditional double stage installations.<br />

Reprocessing the Float Material Gives Better<br />

Results Than Reprocessing the Heavy Material<br />

Tri-Flo - Heavy material must travel from the centre<br />

to the wall of the separator to be discharged and the<br />

misplaced coal to rejects is minimal. On the contrary<br />

the float is discharged from the centre of the<br />

separator on the same axe where it is fed and might<br />

contain some misplaced heavy material due to<br />

various reasons (overloading the separator, changed<br />

conditions in the feed characteristics, etc.). In case<br />

of overloading of the first stage, the second stage is<br />

fed with the first stage light material and the majority<br />

of the heavy material has been already rejected,<br />

making the conditions in the second stage more<br />

stable and allowing to reject the misplaced material.<br />

Other Technologies – Other technologies, derived<br />

from the British Coal Board (Larcodems and similar)<br />

have the possibility to rewash the heavy material in<br />

a second stage. If the first stage is overloaded low<br />

quality light product is produced and lower densities<br />

are required to obtain the target product misplacing<br />

to rejects the more profitable premium coal which<br />

will be discharged as power plant product with<br />

significant economical losses as proved in many<br />

applications.<br />

Reprocessing the light material gives better overall<br />

performance because each size fraction is separated<br />

at more or less the same density, instead<br />

reprocessing the heavy material provides density<br />

cuts that are progressively higher as the particle size<br />

decreases with obvious economical losses .<br />


Only the Medium is Pumped<br />

Reduced wear of the Heavy Medium feed pump and<br />

following piping – typical life time is doubled if feed<br />

is not pumped. Higher plant availability due to<br />

reduced blockages of piping and pump.<br />

The feed material remains into the slurry for a very<br />

short time as opposed to conical cyclones. Lower<br />

degradation of the feed material and products with<br />

following savings in water treatment.<br />

Minimal Contact of the Material with the<br />

Separator Wall<br />

Tri-Flo - The feed enters the separator at atmospheric<br />

pressure along the center of the separator, light<br />

material floats along the central axe, highly abrasive<br />

heavy material quickly reports to the wall and is<br />

discharged through the sink head positioned near<br />

the feed inlet.<br />

Cyclones – The feed is pumped with the separating<br />

medium and enters tangentially the separator near<br />

the light material outlet (vortex finder). Heavy and<br />

highly abrasive material rotate and wears the<br />

separator from the feed point all the way down to<br />

the opposite side where the sink outlet (spigot) is<br />

positioned.<br />

Improved Hydrodynamics Inside the Vessel<br />

The flow patterns inside cylindrical vessel is improved<br />

in comparison with more uniform centrifugal<br />

acceleration and a wider region of zero axial velocity<br />

particularly useful for difficult / high near gravity<br />

separations (high amounts of material of specific<br />

gravity near the separation gravity which is very<br />

common in India).<br />

High Sink Capacity<br />

The Tri-Flo technology has the highest sink capacity<br />

on the market for both the first and second stage<br />

allowing for wide variations in feed characteristics.<br />

Conical cyclones are notoriously sink limited.<br />

Larger Feed Top Size<br />

The Tri-Flo technology can accept larger particles<br />

than conical cyclones if comparing the same vessel<br />

diameter. This means that in smaller scale<br />

applications with acceptable coal liberation:<br />

l a single circuit (Tri-Flo) can operate the<br />

separation saving on the coarse coal circuit (static<br />

bath or jigs)<br />

l It is not necessary to reduce the feed top size to<br />

fit the vessel diameter<br />

As an example, assuming a 200 t/h application with<br />

good liberation at top size of 75mm. A single 700<br />

mm Tri-Flo can be installed, if a cyclone is installed<br />

for the capacity a 750 mm should be chosen but the<br />

feed material must be crushed at top size of 50 mm.<br />

As an alternative, to accommodate a top size of 75<br />

mm a 1000 mm should be installed. In both cases,<br />

the economical savings offered by the Tri-Flo are<br />

significant.<br />

Fine Media and Media Segregation<br />

Acceleration forces are necessary for the separation.<br />

Also the fine ferromagnetic powder used for the<br />

medium has the tendency to separate and the density<br />

of the sink medium is higher than the density of the<br />

float medium. This difference is called differential. If<br />

the differential is too high the separation sharpness<br />

is compromised and a finer medium shall be used.<br />

Finer medium is more expensive and more difficult<br />

to recover, hence the operational cost is higher.<br />

Cylindrical cyclones show lower differentials if<br />

compared with conical cyclones allowing coarser and<br />

less costly powder to be used.<br />

DynaFeedä System<br />

The patented DynaFeedä system allows sharper<br />

separation in the following separator. The more<br />

difficult the material to be processed the higher the<br />

advantages obtained with the DynaFeed system.<br />

Obviously, the DynaFeed system gives significant<br />

advantages with fine material (-4 mm) which is more<br />

difficult to process. During initial testing on a difficult<br />

separation, clean coal yield was increased as much<br />

as +25% if compared with the same separator<br />

operating without the DynaFeed system.<br />


Description “Graspan Tri Flo ® Plant | 1 MTPA”<br />

Description “Tri Flo ® in operation<br />

Typical Tri-Flo Plant data – Discards<br />

Ash % CV Mj/Kg<br />

Feed 30-55 16-10<br />

Clean Coal 20-30 20-24<br />

Rejects 55-70 3-10<br />

Tri-Flo Performance Test<br />

Feed rate : 250 t/h Feed Ash 50%<br />

Ep Organic Efficiency Tot Mispl. Material<br />

0.012 98.90% 0.86%<br />

Note : 20 MJ/kg = 8600 Btu/lb<br />

250 t/h = 275 stph<br />

alljig ® -jigging machines in demand worldwide!<br />

New installations in Northern and Eastern<br />

Europe!<br />

Europe´s largest stainless steel plant in Tornio,<br />

Finland – producing 1.7 million tons a year –<br />

recently opened a new slag processing plant in<br />

September 2010. The main components of this<br />

new plant are two powerful alljig ® -jigging<br />

machines, ordered by TAPOJÄRVI, which runs<br />

the plant on behalf of OUTOKUMPU. The slag, a<br />

by-product of steel production, still contains 5 -<br />

10 % metal, and the alljig ® -jigging machines<br />

separate out this valuable metal for metallurgical<br />

reprocessing. The other product is metal-free<br />

slag that can be used as aggregate. As raw<br />

materials are becoming increasingly scarce,<br />

there is a growing trend toward economical<br />

processing of by-product slag from<br />

ferrochromium, ferromanganase and stainless<br />

steel production. In turn, there has been a<br />

noticeable spike in demand for alljig ® -jigging<br />

machines, particularly in Northern and Eastern<br />

Europe. Within the last five years, allmineral has<br />

increased its market share there considerably –<br />

and it looks like things will only get better.<br />

On September 8, 2010 the residents of the town of<br />

Tornio on the Finnish-Swedish border were treated<br />

to a special visit from Mauri Pekkarinen, the Finnish<br />

Minister of Economic Affairs, and the Senior Vice<br />

President of OUTOKUMPU. Both attended the official<br />

opening ceremony for the state-of-the-art processing<br />

plant at the largest stainless steel plant in Europe –<br />

which is also the biggest employer in the region.<br />

TAPOJÄRVI will run the new plant that makes it<br />

possible to extract the last bit of valuable metal from<br />

stainless steel slag. Air-pulsed alljig ® -jigging<br />

machines are the core equipment of this process,<br />

and take advantage of gravity by using the difference<br />

in metal and slag density to efficiently separate the<br />

two. These machines from Germany are designed<br />

for capacities of 50-100 tons per hour, while efficiently<br />

sorting particles ranging in size from one millimeter<br />

to 32 millimeters.<br />

The Finnish corporate group Outokumpu is one of<br />

the largest producers of high-quality stainless steel<br />

worldwide. Its yearly melting capacity is around 2.5<br />

million tons, and its rolling capacity for warm and<br />


cold strip, long products and quarto metal sheets is<br />

just under 2 million tons. The Finnish plant in Tornio<br />

is the affiliated group’s largest factory, and is unique<br />

in that it has the only fully integrated production line.<br />

The aforementioned production line starts in the EU’s<br />

only chromium mine in Keminmaa, where<br />

approximately 200,000 tons of lump ore and 400,000<br />

tons of fine concentrate are produced every year.<br />

The steel plant has two production lines: one with<br />

100 tons and the other with 150 tons and converters<br />

in which the melted ferrochromium is processed with<br />

steel scrap. The warm rolling factory produces steel<br />

with widths ranging from 1 to 1.6 meters and with a<br />

thickness of up to 12 mm. Most of the coils made<br />

there are then turned into acid-resistant stainless<br />

steel sheets and plates at the cold rolling factory for<br />

customers all over Europe.<br />

Due to the high separation density necessary, the<br />

alljig ® -jigging machine is in many cases the only<br />

economical solution for producing high-quality metal<br />

that can then be directly reprocessed metallurgically.<br />

In addition, the cleaned slag can also be sold as<br />

valuable aggregate for concrete or road construction.<br />

In the first half of the decade, there was a great<br />

demand in Western Europe and Africa for allmineral’s<br />

innovative processing technology, but currently the<br />

spotlight is on countries in the CIS. Initially, allmineral<br />

set up two lines, each with two alljig ® -jigging<br />

machines, for ferrochromium slag processing at the<br />

Russian metallurgical plant Cheliabinsk (one of the<br />

largest in Europe). Their throughput rate is 20 resp.<br />

40 tons per hour and machine.<br />

Now allmineral has received an order for two alljig ® -<br />

jigging machines to be used for upgrading the raw<br />

materials enrichment for ferrochrome-production, the<br />

chromite ore itself. And following their first order for<br />

an alljig ® -jigging machine in 2007, another chromium<br />

ore processing plant, owned by the Kazchrom<br />

company in Chromtau, Kazakhstan, has just ordered<br />

another one.<br />

Within a short amount of time, twelve alljig ® -jigging<br />

machines for slag processing have been put into<br />

operation: two in Belgium, four in South Africa, four<br />

in Russia and two in Finland. In addition, there are<br />

also the aforementioned four alljig ® -jigging machines<br />

for chromite ore benefication for clients in Russia<br />

and Kazakhstan. In total, allmineral has supplied over<br />

400 alljig ® -jigging machines around the world, where<br />

they are used to efficiently sort not only slag, but<br />

also coal, ore, gravel, sand, crushed stone and<br />

recycling materials.<br />

Description “Alljig ® 2500 | Tornio<br />




Sponge Iron or Direct-reduced Iron, is considered to<br />

be an additional support to the ever increasing steel<br />

demand in the developing economies. With<br />

conventional steel making plants requiring high capital<br />

investments and an added pressure of increasing<br />

coking coal prices, the alternate method of<br />

manufacturing Iron from direct reduction provides a<br />

solution in the labor intensive economies like India.<br />

Also, India is the largest producer of <strong>sponge</strong> Iron in<br />

the world producing over 20 million tons per year, in<br />

last three years. Other than India; Iran, Venezuela,<br />

Saudi Arabia and Mexico are the major <strong>sponge</strong> Iron<br />

producers. In comparison to this, world’s largest steel<br />

producer and consumer, China has a very small DRI<br />

<strong>industry</strong>, mainly owing to the fact that, the major<br />

Chinese Steel manufacturers are state owned.<br />

Sponge Iron is produced by directly reducing Iron Ore,<br />

using chemical compound known as Reducing gas,<br />

consisting mainly Carbon Monoxide (CO) and<br />

Hydrogen gas (H ). This reducing agent is primarily<br />

2<br />

produced by either Gas or Coal fired plants. India as<br />

stated above, being the largest producer of DRI, relies<br />

heavily on Coal fired DRI plants. In FY 2008-09, out<br />

of India’s total <strong>sponge</strong> Iron output of about 21 million<br />

OreTeam Research (www.oreteam.com)<br />

Looking at the figures for last five years, the <strong>sponge</strong><br />

Iron production in the FY 2004-05 was approximately<br />

10 million tons, amounting to 18 percent of the global<br />

<strong>sponge</strong> Iron production. The value rose to little more<br />

than 21 million tons in FY 2008-09, depicting the 31<br />

percent of the total global production. Industry has<br />

achieved the production of 23 million tons for FY<br />

2009-10, thus depicting 35 percent of total DRI<br />

production in the world. Some reports also suggested<br />

that in coming few years, India’s <strong>sponge</strong> Iron<br />

production will go beyond 40 million tons a year,<br />

keeping in sync with the local and global steel pricing<br />

provided policy initiative supports from the<br />

Government on sustained availability and affordable<br />

prices of vital inputs. The figure below depicts the<br />

increase in the production of DRI in last 10 years.<br />

tons, Coal fired plants contributed about 16 million<br />

tons, amounting to 76 percent of the total Indian DRI<br />

production. The estimated figures depicts that in the<br />

current fiscal year the DRI produced through Coal<br />

fired plants will reach about 17 million tons, about 74<br />

percent of the total Indian <strong>sponge</strong> Iron production.<br />


Moreover, some analyst suggest that the <strong>future</strong><br />

projection in terms of India, the installed capacity for<br />

producing <strong>sponge</strong> Iron will increase to about 40-50<br />

million tons, an almost double of the existing installed<br />

capacity. Also the production is estimated to reach<br />

the levels of 43 million tons a year, by FY 2014-15.<br />

The Gas based plants are likely to produce 8 million<br />

tons a year by FY 2014-15. Thus, this growth will be<br />

mainly attributed by increasing the installed capacities<br />

of the Coal fired plants and setting up new plants.<br />

The installed capacity of the Coal fired plants is<br />

estimated to reach the levels of 50 million tons, by<br />

FY 2014-15. Also, by FY 2014-15, the production<br />

through these Coal fired plants is estimated to reach<br />

PPP<br />

the levels of 35 million tons per year, more than<br />

double of the existing production by Coal fired plants.<br />

However, some reports suggested, that this increased<br />

capacity will depend on the pricing strategy followed<br />

by Coal India in the coming years. Also, some <strong>industry</strong><br />

experts suggest that most of the DRI manufacturers<br />

are reluctant to buy expensive imported Coal, due to<br />

sustainability issues. Moreover, some analysts<br />

indicated, that it’s a wait and watch time, as 12 th<br />

five<br />

year plan is round the corner, and the new regulations<br />

by Ministry of Coal, will have an impact on India’s<br />

domestic Steel and Iron Ore <strong>industry</strong>.<br />


With best compliments from:<br />


(A Minera Group Company)<br />

Manufacturer of Sponge Iron<br />

811/2, NH-63, Hospet Road,Alipur<br />

BELLARY-583105<br />

Karnataka<br />

P: + 91 8392-237701 / 237708<br />

F: + 91 8392-237744 / 237799<br />

E: info@mineragroup.com<br />

W: www.mineragroup.com<br />




A one day technical seminar was organised by Tata Sponge with support of Sponge Iron Manufacturers<br />

Association (<strong>SIMA</strong>) on 21st (1st half) & 22nd (2nd half) December, 10 on the topic “Operation of coal based DRI<br />

plants – recent developments”. The focus was to provide a platform for learning from each other about latest<br />

trends in production of <strong>sponge</strong> <strong>iron</strong> in rotary kilns and also to bring in focus upon some of the challenges for<br />

sustaining the business. The seminar was organised at Officers Recreation Center of Tata Sponge’s township,<br />

at Bilaipada, Orissa. Around 20 member companies of <strong>SIMA</strong> nominated their delegates to attend the seminar<br />

where four technical papers were <strong>present</strong>ed on different issues.<br />

Mr.Suresh Thawani, Managing Director, Tata Sponge, welcomed all the participants to the seminar. He expressed<br />

hope that the seminar would provide networking opportunity to participants for wider interaction during the<br />

seminar and later and suggested that similar seminars should be arranged to share best practices in<br />

maintenance of kilns.<br />

The seminar started with the guest speaker , Dr.D Bandopadhyay, Dy. Director, NML making a lucid <strong>present</strong>ation<br />

on the mechanism of <strong>iron</strong> ore reduction.<br />

The other two speakers on Day-1, Mr.Laxman Prasad, Adviser Advisor [Mineral Resources and Env<strong>iron</strong>ment,<br />

Godawari Power & Ispat Ltd and Mr.SC Khattoi, Managing Director, Project & Engineering Consultancy spoke<br />

about the dwindling availability of sized <strong>iron</strong> ore and the need to find appropriate technology to agglomerate<br />

<strong>iron</strong> ore fines at affordable cost. Mr.Prasad dwelled upon the prevailing operational constraints, leading to low<br />

& inconsistent quality of DRI, short campaign life of DRI Kilns etc. Mr.Khattoi elaborated on various alternative<br />

technologies under development to convert ore fines & coal fines into either DRI or liquid metal.<br />


The fourth <strong>present</strong>ation was made by Mr.Partho Chattopadhyay, Chief Operating Officer (Sponge Business) on<br />

development of an integrated IT platform to monitor & control the kiln operational parameters on-line. The<br />

<strong>present</strong>ation primarily covered details of an eLogBook developed in-house by Tata Sponge, which facilitates<br />

the operators to take decisions by on-line/real time availability of operational parameter trends. As per the<br />

<strong>present</strong>ation, this software has helped the company to increase productivity, maintain quality, optimize the<br />

utilization of scarce resources like raw materials and manpower.<br />

In his concluding remark, Mr.SS Bhatnagar expressed that there was a need for similar interactions on a<br />

regular basis in <strong>future</strong>. He thanked all <strong>present</strong> for their participation and Tata Sponge in particular for hosting<br />

the seminar and extending the hospitality to the participants. The participants were also shown around the<br />

TATA Sponge Works & other facilities during their stay.<br />



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