11/06/14 – World DRI Output Exceeds 75 million tonnes
The world’s direct reduction industry continued its solid growth setting a new record in 2013 with 75.2 million tons produced; this was an increase of two million tons per year, or 2.8% above the 2012 numbers. Worldwide, the DRI industry has grown in eight of the past ten years. Output last year was more than 85% greater than in 2001. Factors that had placed a drag on growth in the preceding years continued, but were overshadowed by the demand for direct reduced iron in many areas.
The primary region of industry growth was the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region where more than five million tons more DRI were made than in 2012. The Kingdom of Bahrain entered the group of DRI producing nations as the new 1.5 MPTY MIDREX® Plant at Hidd owned by SULB began operation. Iran once again demonstrated major growth, increasing output by nearly three million tons primarily via the ramp-up of a number of recently commissioned modules.
Libya increased tonnage as industry there continued to rebuild from the civil war. Elsewhere in the region, Oman made slightly more that it had in 2012, and Saudi Arabia set a new record for national DRI production as did the United Arab Emirates.
Altogether MENA made 32.4 million tons, which was 55% of the total of natural gas fueled DRI.
Outside of MENA, additional growth was also seen in Russia, which had a new national record production of 5.3 million tons.
The growth seen in 2013 was quite remarkable since two key producing countries, India and Venezuela, saw a significant decline in production. India fell to 17.8 million tons. This was down from the all-time high that India had enjoyed only three years earlier when it made 23.4 million tons in 2010. The main reasons for the decline were the same difficulties that have been seen in the past few years, which included lower availability of domestic iron ore due to regulations and licensing related to environmental requirements and extremely high prices of natural gas. Regarding the latter problem, a number of companies in India are building facilities to make DRI using syngas produced from coal in place of natural gas. Two of these facilities are expected to be commissioned in 2014.
Venezuela continued to struggle with DRI production down 40% from 2012. This meant the country was down to less than one-third of its maximum production in 2005. The immediate reason is a shortage of iron oxide pellets to feed the DR plants, but the underlying reason is lack of funds for maintenance throughout the supply chain; mining, transportation, materials handling, pelletizing, iron making and infrastructure.
Source – Midrex.com