The world’s direct reduced iron (DRI) output surpassed the 100mn mt-mark for the second straight year in 2019 and reached its highest production levels for the fourth consecutive year, according to the 2019 World Direct Reduction Statistics.
The data, which was released on September 8, contains global direct reduction steelmaking metallic data, collected and published by Midrex Technologies.
The Charlotte, North Carolina based firm said in its annual report that over 108mn mt of DRI was produced in 2019, indicating an increase of 7.3pc compared to 2018 production levels. The growth was attributed to increased production in India, Iran, and Algeria with India noted as the highest, global DRI producer in 2019.
DRI production converts iron pellets or fines into metallics for steelmakers to use in electric arc furnaces (EAFs). Global DRI output has risen by 35.5mn mt or 49pc over the past five years.
Pasargad in Iran began its 1.5mn mt per year Midrex plant in 2019, one of eight new developments, of which six are in Iran, at different stages of implementation and covering 7.6mn mt of total capacity. DRI output in Iran extended to 28.5mn mt in 2019, reaching a record high of 10.9pc above 2018 production levels.
Even though extensive direct reduction capacity was not commissioned in 2019, the commencement of Cleveland Cliffs’ 1.6mn mt per year HBI plant in the US and Algerian Qatari Steel’s 2.5mn mt per year DRI plant in Algeria will add more than 4mn mt of global capacity by 2021.
Steel capacity for EAFs has been steadily increasing globally as steelmakers in the US such as Nucor, Commercial Metals, Steel Dynamics, and ArcelorMittal have also added capacity during this year.
High-grade ferrous scrap materials are projected to be significantly limited in 2021 and thereafter, which is forming a budding market for DRI and other substitute iron products.