Uganda-based construction steel producer Steel Rolling Mills has commissioned a direct reduced iron plant that will significantly reduce its dependence on scrap.

The coal-based DR plant started-up earlier this month in Jinja, about 80km from the capital Kampala.

The DR plant’s capacity is 200 tonnes/day, and the company hopes to attain full output shortly. It uses haematite iron ore mined in western Uganda. The plant was supplied from India by engineering firm Sponge Iron & Power Consultancy.

The iron will feed the company’s steel melting shop to produce 100mm square billets.

The DRI will provide about 80% of the melt shop’s raw material requirement. It will continue to use scrap for the balance. Since it started up in 1985, Steel Rolling Mills’ melt shop has been 100% reliant on scrap. The company primarily produces reinforcing bars (Tor bars) from 8mm to 40mm diameter. It is part of the Alam Group which also operates Kenya United Steel Co (Kusco) in neighbouring Kenya.