Global mining company Anglo American, and German steel producer, Salzgitter Flachstahl, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly investigate the optimization of high-grade iron ore supplies for direct reduction (DR) plants to replace blast furnace facilities and reduce carbon emissions in steel production.
The companies will conduct research into the raw properties, treatment processes and logistics of feed materials, such as iron ore pellets and lump iron ores, which are used in DR steelmaking, a lower-carbon process that utilizes natural gas and hydrogen. Anglo American produces lump iron ore concentrates at its operations in South Africa through its Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary, the largest iron ore producer in Africa.
As one of the largest global contributors to CO2 emissions, the steel making industry has seen development in technologies that reduce its carbon footprint. Anglo American has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
“While steel is a critical building block of our modern lives, and itself a critically needed material for the energy transition, the steel industry is a significant producer of carbon dioxide. That’s why we are committed to collaborating with industry-leading players like Salzgitter Flachstahl to develop strategies that capitalize on the premium quality properties of our products to help drive emissions reduction across the entire steelmaking sector,” stated Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing Business.
Salzgitter Flachstahl has announced plans to replace its carbon-based blast furnace facilities with the significantly less carbon-intensive DR steelmaking process by 2045 under its Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking (SALCO) plan. According to the company, the new production process may reduce CO2 emissions from steel production by 95%.
“In driving our SALCO technology concept forward, we aim to decarbonize steel production as efficiently and quickly as possible,” said Chairman of the Management Board of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, Ulrich Grethe, adding, “We are delighted to be partnering with Anglo America, our long-standing major supplier of high-grade ores, for joint reflection and potential partners.”
It is expected that research into hydrogen in the steelmaking process could develop the hydrogen technology industry. Anglo American, the world’s largest producer of platinum, a metal used in hydrogen fuel cells, has highlighted its advocacy for the advancement of hydrogen in steelmaking and its role in decarbonizing the sector.
South African-based Anglo American Group member, Anglo American Platinum, has been evaluating the potential to introduce multiple forms of renewable energy to its operations and has recently completed the design of infrastructure required to produce hydrogen storage and refueling at its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in the country’s Limpopo province. In October 2021, the Mogalakwena mine will receive its first hydrogen fuel cell mine truck and 2 MW hybrid fuel cell and, in November, will commission its 3.5 MW electrolyzer plant for hydrogen production.
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