Russian steelmaker NLMK has received official approval to embark upon the development of a 700kt metallurgical briquettes facility in Lipetsk, the company’s main production site in Russia.

The facility, which will cost 2.3 billion rubles, will make the briquettes from iron-making waste, it is claimed.

“Iron containing briquettes are a raw material for the smelting of hot metal,” says NLMK. The briquettes will be manufactured from a mix of iron ore concentrate and blast furnace sludge, which is basically waste from the wet blast furnace gas cleaning.

According to NLMK, briquette production is an environmentally friendly technology that doesn’t generate dust or gas emissions.

Once up and running, the plant will be capable of recycling 350k of blast furnace waste annually.

Konstantin Lagutin, vice president for investment projects, said that the facility is part of the company’s Strategy 2017 project aimed at making the production process more efficient. “The new facility will not only increase the efficiency of iron extraction, but will significantly reduce the plant’s environmental footprint,” he said, adding that there were plans to fully liquidate existing blast furnace sludge piles – which date back to Soviet times – by the year 2030.