Further boost for Vale’s ‘Mega Hub’ plan in Oman

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Further boost for Vale’s ‘Mega Hub’ plan in Oman

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Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale’s recent announcement that it had successfully launched the world’s first iron ore briquette project at Vitoria in the southeast of Brazil, represents a further boost for its goal to establish a low-carbon ‘Mega Hub’ at Duqm in the Sultanate of Oman.

Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore producer, said its new briquette plant launched on December 12, 2023, has the potential to “revolutionize the steel industry”. The ‘green’ briquette output from the plant reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via the blast furnace route by up to 10%, while also enabling the production of zero-emission steel in the future, when green hydrogen becomes available.

“We are offering a product that will support our customers, the steel manufacturers, in adapting to the emission reduction targets being adopted by governments around the world, contributing to the fight against climate change,” said Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale President, in a statement.

The announcement bodes well for the mining giant’s ambitions to invest in an integrated industrial complex at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Duqm for the production of low-carbon products for the steelmaking industry. Covering a total area of 6.78 km2, the mega-hub will produce hot briquetted iron (HBI), and other steel products. To this end, a land lease agreement was signed by Vale with the Port of Duqm in May this year.

Vale says its innovative briquette is produced from the low-temperature agglomeration of high-quality iron ore using a technological solution of binders, which gives the final product high mechanical strength. First unveiled in 2021, the product emits less particulates and gases such as sulphur dioxide (SOX) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) when compared to traditional agglomeration processes, as well as dispensing with the use of water in its manufacture.

Vale says its version of the briquette is suitable for the direct reduction route (DR) in steel production (as opposed to the blast furnace route). In the DR process, briquettes and also iron ore pellets are used to produce hot-briquetted iron (HBI) – an intermediate product between iron ore and steel – which is then placed in an electric furnace to produce steel with lower emissions than the traditional blast furnace route.

In the Sultanate of Oman, Vale presently operates an iron ore pelletising plant at Sohar Port that provides pellets for DRI plants operating in the wider Middle East. Last year, the company signed agreement to create Mega Hubs in Oman, among other locations, for the production of HBI, initially using natural gas as an energy source, with the potential to switch to green hydrogen in the future, thereby enabling the production of zero-emission green steel.


Source: Omanobserver

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