BHP and global engineering firm Hatch signed an agreement to design an electric smelting furnace (ESF) pilot plant in Australia. The facility will aim to demonstrate a pathway to lower CO2 intensity in steel production using iron ore from BHP’s Pilbara mines. The small-scale demonstration plant would be used to collaborate with steel producers and technology providers with the aim of accelerating scale-up of ESF plant designs. The ESF allows for greater flexibility in input raw materials, addressing a key barrier to wider adoption of other lower-CO2 emissions production routes, such as use of electric-arc furnaces (EAFs), which are designed for scrap steel and high-grade DRI only. The ESF also has the potential to be integrated into a steel plant’s existing downstream production units.
SMS group will supply a secondary copper smelter to Ames Copper Group, a joint venture between Prime Materials Recovery Inc. and Cunext Group, for its facilities in North Carolina. The plant, which is scheduled to start up in 2021, will produce up to 50,000 tons of copper anodes annually. It will be the first secondary copper recycling facility in the United States to produce copper anodes from copper scrap and copper fines. SMS group’s scope of supply will include a tilting refining furnace, anode casting wheel, gas cleaning system, and electric and automation systems. In addition to the equipment supply, SMS will provide technical assistance for installation and start-up. The plant will be prepared for a future upgrade with additional digitalization features.
Alcoa Corp. announced that the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter plans to restart curtailed smelting capacity after members of the United Steelworkers union in Quebec approved a six-year labor agreement. The smelter, which is owned by Alcoa (74.95%) and Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (25.05%), has total capacity of 413,000 metric tons per year. The restart will begin on July 26 and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2020.
Century Aluminum Co., a global producer of primary aluminum, will invest approximately $116.5 million for improvements at its operation in Hawesville, Ky., that will create over 250 full-time jobs. The company will upgrade its smelting technology and train new and existing employees to use the new equipment.
Alcoa Corp. recently announced decisions regarding smelting assets in the U.S. and Italy. The company intends to permanently close its Rockdale Operations site in Texas, which has been fully curtailed since the end of 2008. The site includes a primary aluminum smelter and casthouse, an aluminum powder plant and associated buildings and equipment.