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Enabling iron ore concentrate for the production of direct reduced iron with pre‑existing beneficiation lines


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Author J Martens, L Petzold and B Hiebl


A research team at the Iron and Steelmaking department at Primetals Technologies has established new upgrading measures for improving the efficiency of the beneficiation process in ironmaking plants, relying largely on pre-existing equipment. After the upgrade, the iron content in the final iron ore concentrate was shown to be significantly higher. Remarkably, the costs for employing the respective measures are surprisingly low.

This case study is based on a Kazakh iron and steel producer, whose beneficiation process is currently generating a magnetite concentrate with a final iron content of 65.65 per cent. The study shows that the implementation of Primetals Technologies’ intelligent modification measures to the current beneficiation process, the realisation of more effective dewatering, and the utilisation of an innovative binder lead to an increased iron content in the resulting pellets, reaching a concentration of 69.17 per cent (iron ore concentrate) and 66.5 per cent (pellets).

The current operation consists of three closed circuit grinding stages, four stages of low intensity magnetic separation, vacuum disc filters and straight-grate pelletising. By dividing the slurry after the second stage of grinding and the third stage of low intensity magnetic separation, it is possible to divert the more iron-rich fines before they would enter the third grinding stage and the fourth stage of magnetic separation. This then reduces the load on the existing third stage ball mill. Afterwards, the ground material is treated in an additional low intensity magnetic separator and mixed with the previously diverted fraction of the fines. An improved filtration procedure, combined with the application of a highly sophisticated binder, further reduces the amount of additives needed, so that a genuine direct reduced (DR)-grade iron concentrate is produced as a result.

All laboratory, pilot and pelletising test work was executed at Primetals Technologies’ laboratories in Austria.


Martens, J, Petzold, L and Hiebl, B, 2017. Enabling iron ore concentrate for the production of direct reduced iron with pre‑existing beneficiation lines, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 227–232 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).