Home » Ironveld’s South African smelter ramps up production with new power supply

Ironveld’s South African smelter ramps up production with new power supply

by Victor Adetimilehin

Ironveld, a South African iron producer, has announced that it has successfully installed additional power generators at its Rustenburg smelting plant, enabling it to operate two furnaces simultaneously1. The company had previously faced power supply challenges that hampered its production capacity and efficiency.

The Rustenburg plant, which was refurbished earlier this year, consists of four furnaces, an argon oxygen decarburisation convertor and a granulator. The plant processes high-grade ore from Ironveld’s mine site, which contains iron, vanadium and titanium.

The company said that the new power supply, which is independent of the national grid, has allowed it to avoid the frequent loadshedding imposed by State-owned power utility Eskom2. Eskom has been struggling to meet the country’s electricity demand amid ageing infrastructure, maintenance backlogs and financial woes.

Ironveld also revealed its plans to install a full solar-liquid natural gas (LNG) hybrid system at the Rustenburg site by early next year, which is expected to provide power more cost-effectively than diesel generators and grid power. The company is also working on a BurnStar LNG-to-hydrogen project, which could enable it to use hydrogen as a reductant in the smelting process.

The company said that it has successfully processed a test quantity of third-party metal products at the smelter in August, generating revenue5. It expects to secure more contracts for its high-purity iron product, which is in high demand for various applications, such as metal 3D printing.

Ironveld also reported progress on its IPace DMS Magnetite joint venture, which involves a new funding partner, Sable Exploration and Mining. The joint venture aims to produce magnetite, a mineral used in coal washing and water treatment, from Ironveld’s mine site.

The company said that it is edging closer to a fully operational smelting plant, with the planned three furnaces nearing full operational status before the end of the year8. It also said that it is exploring various financing options to upgrade its production facilities without further reliance on shareholders.

Ironveld’s announcement comes amid a global surge in iron ore prices, driven by strong demand from China and supply disruptions from major exporters such as Australia and Brazil. Iron ore is a key ingredient for steelmaking, which is essential for infrastructure and industrial development.

Ironveld’s CEO Martin Eales said that the company has enormous upside potential, given the size and quality of its mine site and its ability to process and sell its products. He said that Ironveld is committed to delivering value to its stakeholders and contributing to the growth of South Africa’s mining sector.

Source: Creamer Media’s Engineering News & Mining Weekly

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