Metso Full portfolio AusIron process
Process iron ore fines efficiently with flexible AusIron smelting reduction process for ironmaking, a unique solution developed from Metso's Ausmelt Top Submerged Lance (TSL) technology.

The AusIron process is capable of producing hot metal from a variety of iron-bearing materials while using locally available coal in a single reactor.

  • Allows iron ore fines to be processed without the need for agglomeration processes such as pelletizing or sintering    
  • Offers high flexibility for iron feedstocks and coal grades    
  • Uses heat recovered from the furnace and off-gas to produce steam for electric power generation (with approximately 60 MW surplus available for export), making it almost independent from the external power supply    
  • Lowers investment costs through a single reduction and smelting process unit for the production of hot metal directly from an iron source    
  • Reduces operating costs through low-cost raw materials
AusIron process

AusIron technology offers high flexibility in iron feedstocks (iron contents ranging from 52 to 67% have been successfully tested) with particle sizes ranging from 25 µm to lump materials. Extensive beneficiation or agglomeration steps are not required. Appropriate coals range from low-volatile to high-volatile bituminous coals. There is no need for coke or high-grade metallurgical coal. These features make it an ideal process for countries with alternative iron sources and coal deposits.

The AusIron process takes place in a purpose-built smelting reactor designed to withstand high operating temperatures and turbulence through a combination of copper cooling elements at the bath level and boiler tubes (membrane walls) located at the upper part of the furnace.

Ferrous feeds, fluxes, and reductant coal are fed gravimetrically from the top of the vessel, which is operated under a slight negative pressure. Part of the energy required for smelting and reduction is provided by the submerged combustion of coal. The remaining necessary energy is released through post combustion of fuel gases (carbon monoxide and reductant coal volatiles) generated by the smelting process with oxygen enriched shroud gas. The hot gas leaving the AusIron reactor is cooled in a waste heat boiler while producing superheated steam for electric power generation.

AusIron furnace is designed to produce about 500,000 t/a of hot metal when smelting typical iron concentrates and to generate about 100 MW electric power, of which one-third is consumed by the smelter. The hot metal capacity of the same AusIron furnace can be tripled when smelting hot pre-reduced iron concentrate.

The AusIron smelting reduction plant's core equipment includes:

  • AusIron Furnace, including:        
    • Copper cooling panels            
    • Membrane walls            
    • Refractory            
    • Slag and metal tap-holes            
    • Supporting structure            
  • AusIron Lances, including:        
    • Lance handling (trolley, hoist platform)            
    • Catenary hoses to lances            
  • Field instruments and flow control skids (gases, cooling water, sentinel system)    
  • Lance coal injection system    
  • Waste heat boiler    
  • Lance and shroud air compressors    
  • Metal and slag launders    
  • Furnace standby burner, including:        
    • Burner controls            
    • Catenary hoses to standby burner            
    • Burner safety system            
  • AusIron Process Control System, including:        
    • Base control system            
    • Safety system            
    • Lance control module
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