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Japanese JV to recycle steel-mill dust

By Gerald Ondrey |

Nippon Steel Corp. (Tokyo; www.nsc.co.jp) and Kobe Steel, Ltd. (Kobe, Japan; www.kobelco.com) plan to begin construction of a plant to recycle steel-mill dust — a byproduct from the steelmaking process — into direct reduced iron (DRI). The two companies will use steel-mill dust and iron-ore fines from their steel mills as raw materials to recycle the iron from the waste materials into DRI and recover zinc. For this purpose, a joint-venture (JV) company, Nittetsu Shinko Metal Refine Co., has been established within Nippon Steel’s Hirohata Works (Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan). The JV will construct a direct reduction plant utilizing Kobe Steel’s Fastmet Process. When it starts up in October 2011, the ¥10-billion ($110-million) investment will process approximately 220,000 metric tons (m.t.) per year of steel-mill dust to produce 150,000 m.t./yr of DRI. In Fastmet (diagram), steel-mill dust and pulverized coal (as reductant) are heated to more than 1,300°C in a doughnut-shaped rotary-hearth furnace (RHF) and, within 6–12 min, the iron oxide in the dust is reduced into DRI, which is then formed into hot briquetted iron (HBI). At the same time, the zinc in the dust is vaporized, cooled and recovered…
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