United States Steel Corp. will invest approximately $150 million to expand its low-cost iron-ore competitive advantage and increase its self-sufficiency by supplying domestic feedstock to its growing fleet of electric-arc furnaces (EAFs). U.S. Steel plans to break ground in fall 2022 at one of its two Minnesota Ore Operations facilities, Keetac or Minntac, to construct a system dedicated to producing DR-grade pellets. This will enable one of the company’s existing pelletizing plants to not only create DR-grade pellets but also maintain the option to continue producing blast-furnace-grade pellets.
DR-grade pellets are a critical feedstock for ironmaking in a direct reduced iron (DRI) or hot briquetted iron (HBI) process that ultimately supplies EAF steelmaking. Upon completion, the U.S. Steel would have the option to sell the new pellets to third-party DRI/HBI producers or use them to feed a potential future DRI or HBI facility of its own. The DR-grade pellets produced would be a new product line for U.S. Steel.