Mineral Resources (MinRes) has announced a strategic investment in a UK-based company behind technology that significantly reduces energy use and emissions in the production of iron ore pellets.
Binding Solutions Limited (BSL) will use the $US17.5m ($26.6m) investment to progress the design and construction of a demonstration plant capable of producing about 50 tonnes per hour of cold-bonded iron ore pellets.
MinRes Chief Executive, Iron Ore Chris Soccio with cold-bonded iron ore pellets.
BSL’s patented process uses minimal heat and very limited energy to produce high-quality pellets or briquette products for the iron ore and steel industry.
The technology reduces energy use and CO2 emissions by up to 95% and 93% respectively compared to traditional induration processes, BSL said, while also virtually eliminating sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
At the same time, the technology enables reductions in capital investment costs of approximately 90% per 1 Mtpa of production.
MinRes Managing Director Chris Ellison said: “BSL’s technology has the potential to rapidly play a major role in the decarbonisation of the global steel industry.
“MinRes has a track record of using innovation to solve problems and unlock value, and we are excited to partner with BSL to support this innovative technology.”
Potential locations are being considered for the demonstration plant, including in Western Australia, UK and Europe, with a decision on site selection expected by the end of 2023.
MinRes, a top five Australian iron ore producer, has the right to licence the BSL technology to manufacture cold-bonded pellets from iron ore at its own mines.
The leading mining services provider is the preferred builder of BSL pellet plants in global markets and will provide design, engineering, project management and procurement support for the demonstration plant.
BSL recently installed a 2 tonnes per hour pilot plant in its lab at the Materials Processing Institute in Teesside in the UK with the intention of running batches for customers.
BSL chief executive officer Julian Lee said: “The partnership with MinRes is a hugely significant step for BSL and further validation of the innovative technology we have developed in the UK.
“Working with such a respected player in the global mining industry has the potential to rapidly accelerate and de-risk the roll out of our technology by giving us access to the deep expertise and networks that MinRes has built with some of the industry’s largest players over many years.
“We are now focussed on rapidly progressing plans for our demonstration plant and exploring the potential to apply our technology to lithium, a critical battery material.”