ArcelorMittal announces $1.4B investment to slash carbon emissions at Ontario plant

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ArcelorMittal plans to invest C$1.77 billion ($1.42 billion) into installation of new technology at its Dofasco plant in Ontario. The investments will cut carbon emissions by 60%, or 3 million metric tons, over the next seven years, the steelmaker said.

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ArcelorMittal aims to slash emissions

ArcelorMittal logo

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ArcelorMittal Dofasco will transition to steelmaking via Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) and electric arc furnace (EAF) route. They will carry a lower carbon footprint and respective capacities of 2 million metric tons per year and 2.4 million metric tons per year. They are tentatively scheduled to go on stream before the end of 2028, the Luxembourg-headquartered group announced on July 30 with the Canadian federal government.

ArcelorMittal CEO Aditya Mittal and ArcelorMittal Dofasco President and CEO Ron Bedard made the announcement with several federal government officials, the group noted.

“The investment is contingent on support from the governments of Canada and Ontario. Today the Government of Canada announced it will invest C$400 million [$321 million] in the project. The company is in discussions with the Government of Ontario regarding its support,” ArcelorMittal stated.

“Modification of the existing EAF facility and continuous casters will also be undertaken to align productivity, quality and energy capabilities between all assets in the new footprint,” the group added.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco can produce 3 million metric tons per year of crude steel via three blast furnaces and one basic oxygen furnace.

Capacity drop

The transition away from BF-BOF steelmaking will cut steelmaking capacity at the plant by an estimated 600,000 metric tons. Dofasco blew down BF No. 3 in Q1 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site also has one EAF that can pour 1.4 million metric tons per year of crude steel, into which it charges scrap or a mixture of scrap with pig iron to produce slab.

ArcelorMittal indicated that Dofasco would continue with the same product assortment under the new technology.

The plant can produce 5.4 million metric tons per year of hot rolled coil in 1.5-7 mm gauges and a width up 1,587 mm on a seven-stand mill. Gauges on cold rolled coil from the plant are .038-3.60 mm, Dofasco’s website indicated.

Dofasco’s downstream products also include hot dipped galvanized coil, sheet in alloy coatings, polymer coatings, tinplate and pre-painted products, Dofasco information showed.

End users of the plant’s finished products include the automotive, construction, white goods packaging and tubular sectors.

Green goals

The group also announced in September that it aimed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It is also targeting a 30% drop in carbon emissions for its European operations by 2030.

Arcelor Mittal announced in March plans also build a DRI plant and EAF at ArcelorMittal Bremen and ArcelorMittal Eisenhüttenstadt, each of which are in Germany. The group also has a DRI plant and EAF at Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico.

The Canadian government announced July 12 it has committed to achieving a 40-45% cut in greenhouse emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels.

That commitment is the first carbon reduction target under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent in June, and which stipulates net-zero emissions target of 2050.

One analyst did not rule out that other parts of the world could trend toward DRI-EAF technology.

Crude steel tapped from EAFs can produce flats and even auto-grade coil. However, this requires a higher grade of iron ore pellets for direct reduction.

“DR grade is normally more expensive, typically because of the scarcity and content,” the analyst noted.

ArcelorMittal mines DR-grade iron ore and produces concentrates from its assets in northern Quebec. It then transports it via rail to Port Cartier on the St. Lawrence River for pelletizing and onward shipment. The group also has a reduction plant at its Contrecouer plant in Quebec.

The analyst also warned that some DRI plants have experienced operational difficulties, resulting in melt shops going off stream.

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