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July 18, 2013

Siemens and Midrex to build direct-reduction plant for voestalpine in Texas

Gerald Ondrey

Siemens Industry Inc., USA (, and consortium partner Midrex Technologies, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.; received an order from the Austrian voestalpine group ( to build a direct reduction plant in the U.S. The Midrex plant will be constructed near the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. It is designed to produce 2 million metric tons of hot briquetted iron (HBI) per year, making it the largest single module of this type world-wide. The order value for the consortium is in the three-digit million euro range. The plant is due to begin operations in late 2015.

The consortium of Siemens and Midrex will provide engineering, supply of mechanical and electrical equipment and advisory services for the direct reduction plant. "With Siemens and Midrex, we will have highly competent partners with a proven technology at our side." stated Wolfgang Eder, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG. At the Quinta Trade Gateway site near Corpus Christi in San Patricio County, voestalpine will invest around Euro 550 million. This also includes comprehensive infrastructure improvements for the project location, particularly the necessary port facilities.

The direct reduction plant will provide voestalpine's Austrian steel-production sites in Linz and Donawitz with access to cost-effective and environmentally-friendly HBI. About half of the annual production will be shipped there. The remaining half will be sold to partners interested in longer-term contracts. In May this year, Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA), Mexico's largest steel manufacturer, signed a memorandum of understanding with voestalpine. AHMSA intends to source several hundred thousand tons of high quality HBI from the new voestalpine location annually.

The Midrex facility will produce high-quality HBI from iron-ore pellets, which is comparable to the highest quality scrap or pig iron. In contrast to using mainly coke in the blast furnaces, the planned direct reduction plant will only use natural gas as the reducing agent, which is much more environmentally friendly. This improves the carbon footprint of the voestalpine Group and will be an important step in the achievement of the Group's energy efficiency and climate protection objectives.


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