More than 30 customers have already shown interest in the product

Mining company Vale has opened the world’s first iron ore briquette plant at its Tubarão facility in Brazil. According to the company, more than 30 global customers have already expressed interest in the product.

«The product developed by Vale could revolutionize the steel industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from blast furnaces by up to 10% or making it possible to produce zero-emission steel in the future when green hydrogen becomes available,» the company said.

The first plant opened by Vale began load tests in August this year. They showed good results, so the company started operations in 2023. The second plant will be commissioned in 2024. The total production capacity of the two facilities will be 6 million tons of briquettes per year, with an investment of $256 million. In 2024, Tubarão’s two plants will produce about 2.5 million tons of products, and production will gradually increase until it reaches the announced targets.

«We are offering a product that will help our steelmaking customers adapt to the emission reduction targets adopted by governments around the world, which will help fight climate change. In addition, we are stimulating Brazil’s neo-industrialization based on low-carbon industries, and once again fulfilling Vale’s vocation as a leader in regional development,» noted the company’s president, Eduardo Bartolomeo.

According to the miner, more than 30 companies have already expressed interest in receiving batches of briquettes next year. As this is an innovative product, the first two years’ production will be used for testing at these customers’ facilities. Most of the interested parties are from Europe and the Middle East, but there are inquiries from all over the world, including Brazil.

The opening of the plant is the result of about 20 years of research and development by Vale of a product designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the blast furnace. The briquette is produced by low-temperature agglomeration of high-quality iron ore using a process binder solution that gives the final product high mechanical strength. The company is currently developing a version of the product for direct reduction.

As GMK Center reported earlier, Vale expects to start building mega-hubs in the Middle East in 2024 to produce low-carbon iron ore products.