Northern GOK

Thus, enterprises will remain competitive in the context of the green transition

The current global vector of steel industry development, which involves the transition to green steel production, creates demand for high-quality iron ore concentrate. Therefore, this requires additional efforts from Ukrainian mining and processing plants, in particular in the transition from the production of concentrates with an iron content of 64-68% to the production of concentrates with an iron content of 70-71%, UAprom reports.

This conclusion was reached by scientists during the international conference «Iron Ore Deposits of Ukraine: Current Problems and Development Prospects» held on March 21-22 at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. The conference brought together leading scientists from Ukrainian and foreign academic institutions and industry representatives.

«Products that do not meet the quality requirements will not be needed by the market. And we can simply lose these opportunities for the sale of products and lose the capacity of our enterprises. Therefore, we are currently observing promising technologies in green metallurgy,» said Yelena Belan, Metinvest Group’s mining and metals expert on iron ore production.

The ability of the Minings to ensure consistent quality of products with a high iron content will allow Ukrainian enterprises to take a leading position in the green modernization of Europe and integrate Ukrainian production into the global green metallurgy system.

At the same time, the scientists noted that the specifics of the Ukrainian iron ore industry are the use of poor ores with a total iron content of about 30%. This necessitates further processing and beneficiation of ores, including crushing and grinding, magnetic separation, flotation and dewatering. As a result, the rock with an iron content of 30% is converted into a loose pulp-like monomineral product – magnetite concentrate with an iron content of 64-68%. In turn, an increase in the iron content in the final products of mining will make them a more liquid commodity, said Sergiy Shnyukov, Head of the Department of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrography at the Institute of Geology of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

The concentrate obtained in the process of deep processing is a completely new product that differs significantly from ore, added Volodymyr Mykhailov, Head of the Department of Mineral Resources at the Institute of Geology of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He pointed out that this issue is a matter of doubt about the tax authorities, which rely on the 2014 version of the Tax Code, where the concept of primary processing of ores is not clearly defined.

«We have studied this issue extensively and found that at the stage of deep processing, ore undergoes fundamental qualitative changes. It turns into a completely new product – its aggregate state and mineral composition change. Therefore, in our opinion, the claims of the tax service are unfounded,» the scientist noted.

A similar conclusion was reached by a group of scientists from the Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, whose study states the following: «the legal aspect is that magnetite in the concentrate and magnetite in the original ore are essentially different mineral phases: in the concentrate it is magnetite close to the stoichiometric composition, while in the original ore we actually have a solid solution of maghemite in magnetite. In other words, the crystal state and chemical composition of the main mineral component of the ore change during ore dressing.» Therefore, rent taxation should end at the stage of crushing the extracted iron ore.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in 2023, Ukraine reduced iron ore exports by 26% compared to 2022, to 17.75 million tons. Exports of raw materials decreased by 60% compared to pre-war 2021. Revenues of Ukrainian iron and steel companies from iron ore exports decreased by 39.4% y/y  to $1.77 billion.

The major iron ore producers in Ukraine include: Ingulets GOK, Kryvyi Rih Iron Ore Plant, Poltava Mining, Northern GOK, Central GOK, Southern GOK, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Sukha Balka.