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Mill dust recycling operation starts up in Japan

Japan – Nippon Steel and Kobe Steel have confirmed that their steel mill dust recycling plant began commercial operation on October 1.

The two companies decided three years ago to establish a joint venture to recycle steel mill dust and turn it into direct reduced iron (DRI), with construction of the plant beginning in May 2010. The joint venture company – Nittetsu Shinko Metal Refine Co. – is 70% owned by Nippon and 30% by Kobe Steel. It will recycle mill dust and iron ore fines as raw materials to produce DRI and to recover zinc; annual treatment capacity is slated to be around 220 000 tonnes.

In the process, steel mill dust is heated to a high temperature in a doughnut-shaped rotary hearth furnace and quickly undergoes reduction to make DRI. At the same time, the zinc in the steel mill dust is recovered.

In addition to this new business venture, Nippon Steel is using the three other dust recycling plants at its Hirohata works to recycle steel mill dust generated by steelmakers, including alliance partners, located in the Kansai region of Japan.

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