Study Underway for DRI Based Steel Plant in Botswana
Tsodilo Resources Limited has provided an update on its wholly owned Xaudum Iron Project. The Company has entered into a research collaboration endeavor with the Department of Chemical, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology and Morupule Coal Mine to undertake metallurgical studies with respect to the potential of generating a Pellet Feed and Direct Reduced Iron product from the Xaudum Iron Formation utilizing its magnetite and Morupule Coal Mine’s coal as a reductant. Commercially, these high-grade pellets and DRI product would be used to produce steel steel in electric arc furnaces within Botswana, the region and internationally.
Metallurgical results show that the XIF magnetite product is expected to be a premium high-grade product containing +67% iron magnetite that will be ideal pellet feed material. High-grade magnetite pellet feeds at 67% Fe and above have been shown to lower GHG emissions compared to standard feed of 62% iron hematite fines. The collaboration study with BIUST and MCM will identify if the XIF magnetite can be further beneficiated to a pellet feed and upgraded to a DRI pellet or similar product using Botswana coal as the reductant.
High-grade concentrates and pellets of 67% Fe, such as the XIF products, offer a net environmental benefit over its life-cycle compared to classic lower grade, Direct Shipping Ores of 62% Fe hematite fines, by saving carbon emissions in steel production. Where this carbon saving is derived from the inherent differences in the chemical make-up of magnetite vs. hematite, where magnetite is exothermic, has a higher iron content, lower impurities and, reduces fluxing. High-grade ores over 65% Fe currently command larger price premiums over standard ores of 62% Fe resulting in higher margins for suppliers of high-grade products. The current global drive for lower emission steel production results in steel producers dramatically increasing their demand for these high grade ores.
The business case for generating pellet feed, DRI products, and low emission steel from the XIF magnetite is just one of the scenarios that are to be evaluated in the Company’s current Preliminary Economic Assessment
Morupule Coal Mine, initially known as Morupule Colliery, was established in 1973 by Anglo American. MCM is currently 100% owned by the Minerals Development Company Botswana, itself 100% owned by the government of the Republic of Botswana. MCM operates a 3 million tonnes per annum mine within a 4 billion tonne classified semi-bituminous thermal coal resource in a fairly favorable geological setting.