According to industry analysts, Russian steelmakers will keep investing in blast furnaces rather than taking a turn toward decarbonisation technologies, due to Russia not yet introducing a nationwide carbon dioxide market, as well as the country having almost run out of affordable iron ore deposits.
Investments in blast furnaces (BFs) will not be slowed down for the next five-plus years, depending on mills' exposure to export markets where a CO2 tax will soon be in place, Renaissance Capital's Boris Sinitsyn has announced.
In 2021 alone, Russian steelmakers such as MMK ordered a 3.7 Mt/yr BF, Metalloinvest completed revamps of two of four BFs at Ural Steel, while Severstal's Cherepovets mill (CherMK) ramped up the newly built 3 Mt/yr BF No. 3, and proceeded with renovating No. 5. The combined cost of these projects exceeds $1.2 billion.
‘’As a result of its ongoing renewal, the country's BF fleet is too young to expect its decline anytime soon.’'Sergey Nedelin, metals and mining intelligence
‘’As a result of its ongoing renewal, the country's BF fleet is too young to expect its decline anytime soon’’, said Sergey Nedelin of metals and mining Intelligence. A modern BF's life span is 20-25 years, and many of Russia's major blast furnaces are only three to eight years old.
Instead, steel majors will concentrate efforts on modulating the consumption of coke, the main source of CO2 within the BF-BOF route. Through higher-quality inputs and the latest technologies, mills can reduce consumption to below 370 kg/mt to address greenhouse gas emissions, Nedelin said.
MMK's BF No. 11, which is under construction, will be equipped with syngas injection to enable a 576kt/yr cut in CO2 emissions; once online in 2025, the furnace will use 316 kg of coke per ton of pig iron versus 373 kg/ton without syngas.