Japanese steelmakers Nippon Steel Corporation (Nippon Steel) and Kobe Steel said commercial operation was launched at their steel mill dust recycling plant in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture using Kobe’s Fastmet rotary hearth technology.

In October 2008, the companies decided to establish a joint venture called Nittetsu Shinko Metal Refine to recycle steel mill dust and turn it into direct reduced iron. Construction of the 220kt/y treatment plant began in May 2010.

The joint venture plans to produce competitive iron units by recycling steel mill dust, a by-product from the steelmaking process. This recycling business is expected to prove effective to deal with the sharp increase in steel demand and escalating raw material prices.