CO2 problem halts pellet project at Austrian iron mine

Though pelletising uses considerable amounts of energy, some reports have said that this is more than offset with reduced energy use in the blast furnace. It is unclear from the article, whether this is correct in this case.

SBB 18 Nov 2010 Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine’s domestic iron ore supplier, the Erzberg mine in Styria, has abandoned plans to install a pelletizing plant, as was projected earlier this year, and reported by Steel Business Briefing.

The decision against the project has been made in view of stricter rules for greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union as of 2013, which would render production of pellets from the mine uneconomical, VA Erzberg says. Due to the chemical consistency of the ore, pellet production would generate a considerable amount of CO2, the company explains.

Erzberg’s ore has an iron content of only 30-40%. According to the earlier plans, a pelletizing plant could lift the content to 50%, and thus increase the exploitation rate at Erzberg, which currently supplies 2m tonnes/year of fine ore to its indirect owner and only customer, Voestalpine. The steelmaker had considered spending €180m on the pellet project.


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