The IMBS developed technology is a novel iron-making process. Its uniqueness stems from its modular design and its ability to convert superfine iron ore into metallic iron units without the need for agglomeration. Further distinctive qualities are its use of thermal coal as a reductant and its ability to recover and utilise a large portion of its energy requirement.
The low capital cost and modular design lends itself favourably to the exploitation of smaller iron ore deposits and to the direct conversion of iron ore concentrate to metallic iron units, eliminating the need for pelletizing and its associated operational and capital costs. Its design also enables location flexibility ensuring significant savings on transport costs.
The process enables our partner resource owners to exploit previously unusable superfine iron ore and tailings, whilst diversifying their customer base by delivering, low cost metallic iron units to the steel industry.
Development of the process:
Our reduction process has been in development since 2005. By November 2005 IMBS had successfully completed lab scale tests as well as a muffle furnace test. This led to the board granting design and build approval which was proceeded by the construction of the demonstration plant in Olifantsfontein, which was officially commissioned in April 2007. This was followed by the design of a commercial plant and the appointment of consulting engineers towards the end of 2009. The first commercial unit was constructed in Phalaborwa, South Africa, in 2013/2014 and post-commissioning design and mechanical upgrades are being completed before re-commissioning in June, 2015.