Russian steelmaker NLMK is constructing a briquetting plant at its Lipetsk site. The plant will have a capacity of 700kt/yr and, once completed, will create around 200 new jobs, according to NLMK.

Once up and running, the plant will enable NLMK to source raw materials for its blast furnaces from blast furnace waste and thus cut the cost of pig iron production and reduce its environmental footprint.

According to NLMK, briquettes are used as feedstock in pig iron production and are made through extrusion from a mixture of iron ore concentrate, dust captured in blast furnace off-gases and Fe and C containing blast furnace sludge formed in the process of wet scrubbing blast furnace gases.

Once the briquetting plant is open, over 250kt of blast furnace sludge will be recycled and returned to the production processed annually. Consumption of iron ore pellets used in pig iron production will reduce by 9% (roughly 580kt); and coke consumption will go down by 3% (145kt). Overall, the cost of pig iron production will be reduced by 2%.

According to Konstantin Lagutin, NLMK Group's vice president (investment projects) said that this latest project was a good example of how the company employs advanced environmentally friendly technologies to boost efficiency. He said that waste recycling will bring down the cost of pig iron production by 2% by replacing cost-intensive raw materials.

"The new facility will enable NLMK to employ the entire volume of BF sludge generated as raw material, as well as to start recycling previously accumulated sludge, reducing its environmental footprint. This plant is just one of a whole range of efficient waste recycling projects in our pipeline," he said.

Plans are in the pipeline to equip the plant with highly efficient dedusting equipment 'that will enable bringing the level of emission purification in line with best available technologies' with residual dust content not exceeding 5mg/nm3, NLMK claims.