HIsmelt is the world's first direct smelting process for making iron straight from the ore, without the need for intermediate treatment. Iron ore fines are heated to 700°C and injected into the smelting bath though water cooled lances. The ore is instantly reduced on contact with carbon from coal which has been similarly injected. This reaction produces iron and carbon monoxide. The Kwinana plant in Western Australia completed its first shipment of nearly 40,000 tonnes of pig iron in 2006. Production is on target to full capacity of 800,000 tonnes in 2008. Production of carbon dioxide compares favourably with that from conventional blast furnaces. HIsmelt produces 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne for iron which is equivalent to that from the best European blast furnaces and fifty per cent better than typical plants in China, Russia or Eastern Europe. The HIsmelt process can accept low grade or phosphorus rich ores. The phosphorus rich slag may in turn find an end use as a soil conditioner. HIsmelt can also utilise iron rich wastes from steel making.

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Image of The Last Sorcerers: The Path from Alchemy to the Periodic Table
Author: National Academy of Sciences, Richard Morris
Publisher: Henry (Joseph) Press (2003)
Binding: Hardcover, 294 pages