MIDREX® Direct Reduction Plants – 2014 Operations Summary

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Antonio ElliotManager – Technical Services

Articles by Antonio

Plants based on MIDREX® Direct Reduction Technology accounted for 47.12 million tons of DRI products in 2014, which once again led all technologies with 63.2 percent of the market total.

The production for 2014 is estimated from the 32.57 million tons confirmed by MIDREX® Plants located outside of Iran and the 14.55 million tons from within Iran, as reported by the World Steel Association. All Iranian production was by plants using MIDREX® Technology as licensed by Kobe Steel, Ltd.

MIDREX® Plants continued to account for approximately 80 percent of worldwide production of natural gas-based direct reduced iron (DRI) in shaft furnaces. Despite growing exports of steel from China, which caused steel production in many locations worldwide to slow, at least 11 MIDREX® Plants established new annual production records and at least nine plants established new monthly production records. Nine MIDREX® Modules came within 10 percent of their record annual production values and at least 12 modules operated in excess of 8000 hours. MIDREX® Plants have produced a total of more than 820 million tons of DRI/HBI through the end of 2014.

Two new MIDREX® Modules were started up: one, the first cold/hot DRI MXCOL® DR Plant using synthesis gas from a coal gasifier, belonging to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) in Angul, India, and the second, a cold/hot DRI plant using COREX® export gas belonging to JSW Steel in Toranagallu, India.


ACINDAR’s MIDREX® Plant broke its annual production record in 2014 for the second year running, exceeding 1.04 million tons despite typical winter natural gas curtailments. The plant averaged more than 132 tons per hour for the year. In 36 years of operation, ACINDAR’s MIDREX® Plant has produced 27.7 million tons, the most by a single MIDREX® Module to date.


In its 30th anniversary year, the first MIDREX® Plant designed to make HBI produced under annual rated capacity due to market constraints.


AM Hamburg’s MIDREX® Plant, the oldest in operation having been commissioned in 1971 (44 years), comfortably exceeded annual rated capacity in 2014. The plant operated at 75 t/h while producing 15 percent over the DRI tonnage budgeted for the year.


AMLC operated 34 percent over its rated capacity of 1.2 million tons and within 10 percent of its record annual capacity, using iron ore pellets made exclusively with Mexican iron ores. In early 2014, AMLC surpassed the 25 million ton production milestone, achieved in 16.5 years since start-up in August 1997.


Module II set a new annual production record in 2014 for the second consecutive year, after restarting production in 2011. The plant produced more than 977,000 tons with over 8100 hours of operation in the year. Module I’s production for the year was within 5 percent of its record annual production. It restarted operations in June 2013 at full capacity due to competitively priced natural gas and oxide pellets sourced locally. The cumulative production from both modules exceeded the 30 million ton mark by the end of 2014.


All three of AMPL’s MIDREX® Modules operated in 2014, producing more than 1.7 million tons of DRI for the adjacent steel shop and for overseas export. The modules surpassed the 40 million ton production milestone in early 2014. Module 3’s DRI metallization exceeded 95.9 percent on average for the year and carbon averaged 2.67 percent.


Operation of the COREX® export gas-based MXCOL® Plant was limited by the availability of gas from the COREX® Plant. Fifteen years after its initial start-up, the plant established a new record for annual operating hours using on average more than 67 percent South African lump ore for the year.


COMSIGUA operated at reduced capacity from June through November due to the limited supply of locally produced pellets. COMSIGUA accounted for a majority of the 365,000 tons of HBI produced by MIDREX® Plants in Venezuela in 2014.


The two Delta Steel MIDREX® Modules did not operate in 2014.


DRIC’s two MIDREX® Modules in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, continued to ramp up production to satisfy the demand of their neighboring Al-Tuwairqi steel shops. Both modules set new annual production records and new monthly production records, and both operated more than 8000 hours in the year, averaging 8196 hours per year between the two of them. Module 1 set a new annual production record for the fifth consecutive year.


The two largest of Essar Steel’s six MIDREX® Modules operated at reduced production rates due to the shortage of iron ore and very high natural gas prices in India. The four smaller modules remained shut down for the whole year.


Limited by natural gas availability in Egypt, all three of EZDK’s MIDREX® Modules produced just less than 2.0 million tons in 2014. EZDK’s three modules were down most of August and all of September due to a total NG curtailment during this period before restarting again in October.


Ferrominera Orinoco’s MIDREX® HBI Plant in Puerto Ordaz, did not operate in 2014 due to limited oxide pellet availability in Venezuela.


Hadeed exceeded rated capacity for the 30th consecutive year in Modules A and B and for the 22nd consecutive year in Module C. A year after establishing a new DR plant one-year production world record of 2,000,458 tons of HDRI/CDRI with 8,453 operating hours, Hadeed’s Module E exceeded rated capacity in 2014. Modules A and B averaged 8561 hours of operation in the year, while Module C set a new monthly production record, averaging 140 t/h. Hadeed’s four MIDREX® Modules have produced more than 74 million tons of DRI to date.


Jindal Shadeed’s production in 2014 was just 1.4 percent lower than its record set in 2013. The MIDREX® Plant is designed to produce mainly HDRI with HBI as a secondary product stream. It operated an exceptional 8629 hours in 2014 and set a new monthly production record in January, averaging 194 tons/hour. Jindal Shadeed started off the year producing mainly HBI while shipping some HDRI via hot transport vessels to a nearby steel shop. Around midyear, Jindal Shadeed’s own steel shop started taking HDRI. The plant’s DRI production was limited toward year end by the availability of natural gas.


Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) completed commissioning in July 2014 of the first MXCOL® DR Plant using synthesis gas from coal gasifiers. The plant, located in Angul, India, produces HDRI and CDRI for the adjacent steel shop. Production was ramped up as the coal gasifier units were being commissioned and brought on line.


JSW Steel comfortably exceeded rated capacity in 2014 and was within 10 percent of its annual production record even though production was restricted due to the increased price of natural gas. A new system was installed to add coke oven gas (COG) coming from JSW Steel’s coke oven batteries on site to the MIDREX® Shaft Furnace to reduce natural gas consumption. This system was started up towards year end. Excluding the first partial year of production in 1994, JSW Steel’s plant in Dolvi has averaged 8040 hours of operation per year in its 20 years of operation. The plant was shut down in July for major maintenance after 21 months from its previous major shutdown.


JSW Steel’s new cold/hot DRI plant using COREX® export gas in Toranagallu, India, finalized commissioning and was started up in August 2014. The plant is designed to produce 1.2 million tons per year of HDRI and CDRI. This is the second plant of its kind; the first one being the COREX®/ MIDREX® Plant at Saldanha, South Africa.


LGOK’s MIDREX® HBI Module achieved its rated capacity of 1.4 million tons in 2014, after a record breaking annual production of 1,537,000 tons in 2013.


The production of the Lion DRI plant located near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, continued to be limited by steel shop demand. Production in 2014 consisted of 82 percent HDRI and 18 percent HBI.


After restarting in 2012, the three MIDREX® Modules in Misurata, Libya, continued to increase production but were restricted by natural gas supply. Modules 1 and 2 each have produced 10 million tons since their start-up in 1989 and 1990, respectively, despite lengthy shutdowns due to market and political conditions.


In 2014, Nucor’s MIDREX® Plant in Trinidad and Tobago established a new annual production record and exceeded the 10 million ton milestone. Average DRI metallization for the year was the highest of all MIDREX® Plants at 96.15 percent, with 2.79 percent carbon in the DRI produced.


OEMK produced more than 2.8 million tons in 2014. Modules 1 and 3 set new annual production records while the annual production of Module 2 was only 1.8 percent less than its record production of 2013. Module 3 also broke its previous monthly production record twice in 2014. The operating hours for all four of OEMK’s modules averaged an exceptional 8440 hours in the year.


In its seventh full year of operation, Qatar Steel’s dual products (CDRI and HBI) Module II set a new annual production record for the fourth consecutive year, 6.9 percent above its previous record. This MIDREX® Module operated 19 percent over its rated annual capacity, averaging 223 t/h. In March, Module II set a new monthly production record while reaching 230 t/h. Almost the entire production from Module II was CDRI, with metallization averaging 94.6 percent for the year. The production of Module I was only 2.6 percent below its record annual production, and the module operated 8323 hours in the year.


Production from Sidor’s four MIDREX® Modules was limited to 1.3 million tons in 2014 due to a lack of oxide pellets. Module 2C remained shut down the whole year.


SULB’s 1.5 million ton/year combo MIDREX® Plant (simultaneous CDRI and HDRI production) in Bahrain operated 8247 hours in its first full year of operation, establishing new annual and monthly production records. It operated using 100 percent GIIC pellets from the neighboring pellet plants.


TenarisSiderca operated below maximum capacity throughout 2014 due to limited DRI demand by the steel shop and natural gas curtailments during the winter months. CDRI metallization averaged 95.7 percent for the year.


The Tuwairqi Steel Mills 1.28 million ton/year combo MIDREX® Plant (simultaneous CDRI and HDRI production) located near Karachi, Pakistan, did not operate in 2014 due to market conditions.


VENPRECAR’s HBI production was severely restricted by the limited availability of iron ore pellets in Venezuela.


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