DRI Feed to the Blast Furnace
Feeding direct reduced iron to a BF is a well-established and proven technology that has been practiced for decades and continues to be common today due to its quantified positive benefits relative to lower grade magnetite concentrates. Fienman et al. (1999), describe the benefits of feeding DRI in great detail in the treatise "Direct Reduced Iron":
"As the percentage of DRI pellets was increased to 85% of the burden, there was an almost linear increase of 75% in the hot metal production rate. The coke rate decreased about 23 percent for a 30 percent DRI pellet burden. For an 85 percent DRI pellet burden the decrease in coke rate was only 47 percent." (Fienman et al., 1999)
The perfect customer-match for the Sheini highly-metallized DRI product is an integrated steel mill that is "hot metal short." Such a facility has excess steelmaking capacity and the increase in hot metal production mitigates this problem. Alternatively, if the integrated mill is not hot metal short, then the excess hot metal from the BF can be cast into pig iron offering a secondary merchant product that would gross about $150 per tonne at current prices (284,000 tonnes translates to $42.6 million in additional revenues).
CMTL is currently in the process of producing a sufficiently large sample of Sheini highly-metallized DRI using a rotary kiln to investigate the design of a commercial plant flow sheet. The flow sheet centers on application of the magnetizing reduction roast process for producing a high-grade, high iron-unit recovery, highly-metallized DRI product that is best-suited for value-added downstream applications. CMTL also plans to run smelting tests on the Sheini DRI to demonstrate the production of pig iron from Sheini DRI.
Cardero's technology effectively utilizes the volatile matter contained in the coal as a fuel for the pre-reduction process step thereby minimizing the need for additional energy (natural gas) for production of the highly-metallized DRI.
Furthermore, the test work reported in this release has utilized thermal coal as a reductant; additional testing in progress at CMTL utilizes grass as a reductant with favorable results. Using grass could prove to be significant in both cutting operating costs, and in decreasing the carbon footprint of the project. Perennial elephant grass is plentiful and available on-site at Sheini for use as a renewable-energy source, and as a suitable renewable-reductant alternative to thermal coal. Sheini becomes enveloped annually by elephant grass which is controlled by regular burning, thus releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. If the grass were instead harvested and burned as an energy source and reductant to make DRI from Sheini ironstone, the magnetizing reduction roast process could have a near zero or even negative carbon footprint.
About the Sheini Hills Iron Deposit
The Sheini Hills iron deposit is located in northeastern Ghana, Africa approximately 400 kilometers north of Accra and 170 kilometers east of Tamale.
A maiden Mineral Resource Estimate was completed in January, 2013 for the Sheini deposit by SRK Consulting (UK) Limited ("SRK"), in which SRK reported a total Inferred Mineral Resource of 1.312 billion tonnes with mean grade of 33.8% iron. The resource at Sheini consists of two types of ore, being (a) Ironstone (1.045 billion tonnes @ 35.2% iron), and (b) Detrital (266.9 million tonnes @ 28.2% iron).
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