ArcelorMittal Liberia’s iron ore is a direct shipped iron ore (DSO) product. DSO means that apart from some primary crushing, screening and blending at the mine, the iron ore is mined, shipped and consumed in about the same form as it is extracted from the ground.
DSO is a sintering fines material. It is sold to steel mills and used as a feedstock in the production of sintered iron ore, which in turn is used as a feedstock for iron-making blast furnaces. It is in the blast furnace that the iron ore is converted to liquid hot metal.
Iron ores are oxides that are rich in iron content. They occur naturally in many different forms, but the most important forms for iron-making are:
- hematite Fe2O3
- magnetite Fe3O4
- goethite FeO(OH)
Liberian Hematite Martite as seen under magnification
Our Liberian iron ore is a siliceous goethite/ hematite/ magnetite iron ore, containing approximately 60% Fe, 10% SiO2, 2% Al2O3 and 0.1% P . It is derived from a banded iron formation (BIF), deposited in layers of enriched iron and silica by sedimentation at the bottom of the ocean over many centuries. These ocean floors have been folded and moved by tectonic forces to become what we know today as the Yekepa Range.
We are currently producing and shipping five million tons of our Liberian ore to customers in Europe and in Asia. We ship in large capsize vessels (>160,000 dead weight tonnes), which helps us keep our delivered cost-to-the-customer low.
Feedback from our global customers is that Liberian DSO performs well when added to their sinter blends in the correct proportions.
A number of initiatives are currently underway in Liberia which will see product quality improve (iron content rise and silica content decrease), as well as an increase in the available tonnage for sale from the current five million tonnes per year to 15 million tons per year.
Our customers globally are also being supported from a technical perspective on how to maximise benefits from our Liberian DSO in their operations.
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