Zambia develops iron ore for DRI

Universal Mining and Chemical Industries (UMCIL) is investing US$50M in the second phase of the integrated iron and steel project in Zambia.

UMCIL succeeded in getting a dedicated power line from ZESCO for its EAF located in the town of Kafue which has good access to power from the Kariba and Kafue gorge hydroelectric dams. At present, the company is melting around 4000t of scrap a month but it intends to develop two iron ore mines to produce DRI using coal based rotary kilns as exports of scrap from neighbouring countries have been banned by the governments there. The Zambian government has imposed a similar ban.

UMCIL has signed an MoU with Maamba Cola, now owned and managed by the Indian Nava Group to supply coal for the process.

UMCIL director Dr Julius Kaoma says they have embarked on the second phase of the integrated iron and steel project which include the construction of a 60km gravel road from the Kafue steel mill to the Sanje Hill iron ore mine west of Kafue. The mine has reserves of 10Mt assaying at 65% Fe content. A second larger mine with reserves of 250Mt assaying at 57% Fe is also to be developed with the aim of producing 1Mt/y. This second phase of the project will initially supply 400kt/y of high grade iron ore for DRI production.

The steel plant in Kafue presently has a production capacity 100kt/y of round bars, deformed bars, flats, angles, channels, narrow strip, wires and sheet. Once integrated, the aim is to double this capacity.