PR-PM1100-7 - 2000/11 AISE Steel Technology November

Status of Finmet® plant operations at BHP DRI and Orinoco Iron

Gerhard Deimek

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THE increasing global demand for metallic input materials of high quality and the shortage of suitable scrap as a raw material for the production of high-quality steels has led to an escalated consumption of iron charge substitutes in steelmaking. Today’s most frequently charged substitutes are direct reduced iron (DRI) and hot briquetted iron (HBI). DRI/HBI production has been predominantly carried out in shaft furnaces where lump ore or pellets are reduced using reformed natural gas. In 1976, a new process named FIOR was introduced, which uses natural gas to reduce ore fines in a cascade of fluidized bed reactors. FIOR de Venezuela (now called rDI) has operated this process at Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, for 24 years, during which time over six million tons of iron briquettes were produced.