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Green steel made from Baffinland iron

North of 60 Mining News - February 23, 2024

European steelmakers are looking across the Atlantic for high-quality iron ore mined on Canada's Baffin Island.

Due to the combination of high strength, low cost, and the abundance of the minerals and metals from which it is made, steel is the most used metal on Earth. The making of this alloy that serves as the skeleton of modern society, however, is also responsible for roughly 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

To help reduce the CO2 footprint of this building material used in everything from skyscrapers to paperclips, European steelmakers are turning to high-grade and high-quality iron ore from Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.'s Mary River Mine in Canada's Nunavut territory.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.

A ship being loaded with iron ore from Baffinland's Mary River Mine.

Located on Nunavut's Baffin Island off mainland Canada's northeast coast, the Mary River Mine is ideally located to deliver iron ore across the North Atlantic to European steelmakers.

This includes Germany-based ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar, which recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Baffinland to investigate the use of Nunavut high-grade iron ore in low-carbon "green" steel production.

"Cooperating with ROGESA in realizing environmentally compatible steel production has been a priority of Baffinland," said Baffinland Iron Mines CEO Brian Penney.

Last summer, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe entered into a similar agreement to accelerate the development of high-quality iron ore for its own green steel production.

The largest steelmaker in Germany says high-grade iron ore is a key ingredient to achieving its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2045.

"High-grade iron ore is an important raw material for thyssenkrupp Steel, both for use in the conventional blast furnace and, in perspective, in the direct reduction plant," said Arnd Köfler, chief technology officer at thyssenkrupp Steel. "We are particularly excited to work alongside Baffinland to explore the most effective utilization of high-quality iron ore in our production process."

High-quality iron ore

While a shortened supply chain certainly helps, it is not Mary River's location that is attracting European steelmakers seeking to lower their carbon footprint. Instead, it is high-quality iron ore supplied by this Baffin Island mine.

Because the iron deposits at Mary River are amongst the highest grade in the world, the ore mined from there is simply crushed, screened, and then loaded onto ships. This means that no extra energy goes into processing the ore, which equates to an inherently smaller carbon footprint and no waste materials that need to be stored.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.

The Mary River Mine on Nunavut's Baffin Island hosts some of the highest-grade iron ore deposits in the world. The high grades equate to more ore per energy output, which inherently lowers the carbon footprint of mining and processing.

Baffinland iron ore also has superior chemistry and first-rate metallurgical properties, which lowers the energy needed to transform the iron into steel.

"The reduction of CO2 emissions is the key to global decarbonization in the steel industry," said Penney. "We believe reducing those emissions, across the entire supply chain, from mining, freight, and logistics through to the processing and use of the raw materials, is possible with Nunavut high-grade iron ore as a key component."

And because steel is so ubiquitous in the modern world, a clean energy future would be nearly impossible to build without greening the steelmaking process.

Beyond the 6 to 9% of global CO2 emissions that would be wiped off the slate if the global steel industry were to become carbon-neutral, the climate benefits of green steel would be passed on to the wind turbines, solar farms, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric dams, and the other low-carbon energy generators that are built from a framework made from this high-strength, low-cost, and abundant material.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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