Stoilensky, an international steel company with operations in Russia, the European Union and the USA, has produced its six millionth tonne of pellets, according to NLMK Group of which it is a part.

The Stoilensky pelletising plant is claimed to be one of the largest in Europe. It was opened in November 2016 and reached its design capacity of 6Mt/yr in June 2017. The plant supplies NLMK’s Lipetsk facility with 500kt of 64.8% Fe pellets every month.

It took NLMK Group two years to bring the Stoilensky pelletising plant to fruition. Construction began in 2014 and a total of US$680 million was invested in the project.

According to NLMK, the best available technology and equipment was selected during the design phase. “The largest horizontal grate induration furnace in Europe ensures the plant’s high performance at 780 tonnes of pellets produced per hour,” the company explained, adding that the plant was the first in the Russian metals and mining industry to use high-efficiency hyberbaric filters to remove fluid during the processing of ore.

From an environmental perspective, the Stoilensky plant is described as a ‘waste-free’ facility. Waste charge metal and captured dust are fully recycled and a high efficiency dedusting system captures up to 98% of emissions, it is claimed.

Sergey Napolskikh, Stoilensky’s general director, commented: “Six million tonnes of pellets is a testimony to the success of NLMK Group’s key Strategy 2017 investment project. Maintaining the current productivity of the induration furnace in 2018 we plan to produce 6.4Mt of pellets,” he said.

The company is planning a further 20% capacity expansion to reach 7.2 million tonnes of pellets per year.

“Achieving the set goals will enable us to supply NLMK Group’s future growth projects with low cost raw materials,” added Napolskikh.