The Austpac Iron Reduction Process
Early in 2006, Austpac developed an innovative iron metallisation process to enhance the ERMS SR process by reducing the iron oxide pellets, produced by the EARS acid regeneration process, to iron metal pellets. This was undertaken in batch fluid bed roasters and it was decided to construct a pilot scale continuous “metalliser” to demonstrate the process. The pilot scale unit was operated late in 2006, with test runs conducted on a sample of fine iron ore from the Pilbara in Western Australia. Excellent metallisation (95%) was achieved, encouraging further development of the process.
The iron in steel mill waste products, such as the dusts collected from the furnace off-gases, can also be converted to saleable iron pellets. These waste products are chemically derived materials and therefore do not contain the deleterious elements which would be carried though in the reduction of iron ore. This means that Austpac Iron is unusually pure compared to other raw materials used for steel production.