American Zinc Recycling (AZR) has restarted its zinc production facility in Rutherford, North Carolina for special high grade zinc (SHG) using recycled steel mill dust.
AZR intends to recycle 500,000t (453,592mt) of steel dust across its four facilities this year, which will feed 100pc of the recycled material to the Rutherford County plant.
An AZR spokesperson told Davis Index that the Rutherford plant is 99pc efficient in recovering zinc, therefore, the material it’s being fed would have around 155,000t of contained zinc to produce that many tons of SHG zinc.
The plant is touted as the only facility on the continent that produces zinc from recycled materials such as Waelz Oxide (WOX)—a zinc-based feed produced from zinc-bearing steel mill dust. The Rutherford plant’s waelz kiln technology converts the steel dust into WOX to produce SHG zinc.
The Rutherford plant was idled in 2016 for upgrades and renovations, and scheduled to resume operations 11 months ago. However, a fire broke out at the renovated facility and damaged one of the production areas, postponing the production start date.
The company does not anticipate any long-term lag in supply or demand for SHG, nor delays in increasing its production. However, the spokesperson said the company is monitoring the Covid-19 spread in the US, since a significant deceleration in the economy could decrease the metal’s demand.
AZR provides environmental services to the US steel industry by recycling stainless steel dust and household batteries through its subsidiary Inmetco, and other hazardous waste from the steel industry.