International Steel Group successfully launches hot briquetted iron facility in Trinidad
Richfield, OH— International Steel Group Inc. announced the successful start-up of its hot briquetted iron (HBI) facility in Trinidad and Tobago. ISG purchased the facility in July 2004 from Cliffs and Associates Limited as part of its strategy to stabilize its raw material supplies and costs.
“We are very pleased that this successful start-up occurred as planned,” said Rodney B. Mott, ISG president and chief executive officer. “I applaud the entire ISG team that worked so diligently to accomplish this task. We purchased this facility to support our raw material strategy by utilizing the latest technology. Restarting the Trinidad plant is another example of our commitment to that strategy, which will control costs and better ensure our supply of raw materials.”
The plant officially began production November 12 and is already running at more than 50 percent capacity with few minor start-up issues. ISG management is aiming for a production rate of 36 tons per hour in the next few months and hopes to reach design capacity by next summer.
HBI can be used in both electric arc and blast furnaces as a high-quality substitute for scrap steel. It can also be used to increase the efficiency of blast furnaces and thereby reduce the consumption of coke. Production from this facility will provide ISG another hedge in the face of volatile raw material costs.
“We were fully aware of certain technical problems the former owners experienced with this facility,” Mott continued. “We were confident that our people could resolve those issues and quickly bring this plant on line successfully. This again demonstrates the knowledge, experience and determination of ISG people to get the job done.”
ISG’s Trinidad facility has the capacity to produce approximately 550,000 tons (500,000 metric tons) of HBI annually. The process uses natural gas to heat iron ore fines (powder and small particles) in a liquid slurry and reduce the mixture under a hydrogen environment into iron briquettes.
“This is a very cost-effective technology,” remarked Brian Kurtz, vice president and general manager, ISG Georgetown, who manages the plant. “With this state-of-the-industry process, we can convert what is normally less desirable, lower-quality iron ore fines into high-iron-content briquettes. Iron ore fines are available in ample supplies because most producers prefer lump ore and pellets. And with ample supplies of low-cost natural gas, a strong team and direct access to ocean shipping, our Trinidad facility can produce HBI competitively when compared to scrap steel.”
The HBI produced at the Trinidad facility will be used at various ISG facilities throughout the company to better manage raw material costs.