Midrex Technologies and Primetals Technologies have been commissioned by Société Internationale Métallique (SIM) to supply the equipment and oversee the technological aspects of a 2Mt/yr hot briquetted iron (HBI) plant in the Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park, a public-owned industrial park on the shores of the Saint-Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada; the site is a year-round deep water port and connected to major North American rail and road infrastructure.

Daubeny B. Cooper III, president of Société Internationale Métallique, commented: ‘‘The MIDREX process is the technology responsible for nearly two thirds of the world’s annual DRI production and the primary technology behind most HBI produced today, thus it was a logical choice for us.”

He said that SIM will produce the best HBI in the world by merging state-of-the-art technology with high quality and strategically located iron ore. “Coupled with a friendly business environment and historically-proven performance, SIM’s new plant is positioned to be a leader in clean iron-reducing and in the secondary transformation processing of iron ore in the province of Quebec,” he added.

Midrex and Primetals will provide the principal equipment of the plant, in co-ordination with a construction and engineering firm that remains to be selected. Using the MIDREX NG™ Process, Midrex and Primetals Technologies are designing the plant to have a rated capacity of 2Mt (metric tonnes) per year of HBI, making it one of the largest HBI modules in the world. MIDREX Technology is also being used in a similar plant currently under construction in Texas in the USA.

‘‘Midrex built two of its first ironmaking plants in Quebec nearly 40 years ago, so it is a pleasure for us to come back to Canada with our latest technology advances,” said James D. McClaskey, president and CEO of Midrex Technologies. “HBI is a raw material that allows a clean, efficient way for many steelmakers to augment their steel production. HBI demand continues to grow, and with this new plant SIM will be in a prime position to supply various steelmakers worldwide by capitalising on the expertise and natural resources of the local region.”

Heiner Röhrl, CEO of Primetals Technologies Austria said that Primetals Technologies has been a MIDREX licensee for the Direct Reduction Process for more than 30 years and in co-operation with MIDREX has built more than 20 MIDREX Plants worldwide. “From the development of the first HBI plant in Malaysia in the 1980s up to the HBI plants currently under construction in Russia and the world’s largest HBI plant in Texas, USA, Primetals Technologies played a major role in building most of the HBI plants and contributed with its expertise in the iron and steel industry to the development of this technology.”

Iron ores are first ground and concentrated and then processed to direct reduction (DR) grade pellets. These pellets are then fed into a MIDREX Shaft Furnace where they are reduced to metallic iron. The hot pellets are malleable and are fed into briquetting machines, producing hot briquetted iron (HBI) with a metallisation degree exceeding 93%. The briquettes have an apparent density exceeding 5.0g/cm3 and are well-suited for safe waterborne and rail transport due to the density and the low amount of fines generated during handling. HBI is used to supplement EAF charge material and the physical and chemical characteristics of HBI also make the metallic easier to charge to blast furnaces.

Construction begins in 2017 for a two-year period, enabling the plant to start operations in 2019.