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Metalloinvest to build world's largest HBI facility

Oct 22, 2021 | 06:34 AM | London | Carrie Bone

Tags  HBI, Metalloinvest, green steel, Lebedinsky GOK

Russia’s Metalloinvest plans to construct the world's biggest hot-briquetted iron (HBI) facility to help speed up the transition to green steel production, the company said this past week.

Technology provider Midrex Technologies and engineering company Primetals will supply the new HBI Plant (HBI-4) at Lebedinsky GOK (LGOK), Metalloinvest said. The plant will be built at Gubkin, in west Russia, and will produce 2.08 million tonnes of HBI per year, making it the world’s largest HBI facility, the company announced on Thursday October 21.

Investment in construction of the plant is estimated at more than $600 million and the plant is expected to become operational in the first half of 2025, it said.

HBI is a low-carbon raw material used for steel production in electric-arc furnaces and generates up to 50% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than steel produced using blast furnaces under Scope 1 and Scope 2 of the greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol.

“HBI-4 will [reinforce] Metalloinvest’s dominant position in supplying merchant HBI to meet the growing demand for low-CO2 metallics. Our H2-ready technology is the right step towards green steelmaking and carbon neutrality,” Midrex president and chief executive officer Stephen Montague said.

The plant can be converted to use up to 100% hydrogen as a reducing agent, which will further reduce CO2 emissions.

Mikhailovsky HBI, which was jointly established by Metalloinvest parent company USM and Mikhailovsky GOK, announced plans in March to construct another HBI plant to be built in Russia with Midrex and Primetals.

“The two new facilities will double the joint production capacity of USM and Metalloinvest from 4.6 [million] to 9 million tonnes of HBI per year,” Metalloinvest CEO Nazim Efendiev said. “This will strengthen our position as a leading provider of this crucial element in the transition to greener steel production. That is a significant milestone in the global steel industry’s decarbonization efforts.”

Primetals Technologies Austria CEO Etsuro Hirai noted that “HBI helps steel producers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products while increasing competitiveness. Together with Alisher Usmanov’s companies - [USM, Metalloinvest and their subsidiaries] - we are creating the basis for the development and steady movement [toward] European green metallurgy.”


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