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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Print version ISSN 0038-223X

Abstract

STEINBERG, W.S; GEYSER, W  and  NELL, J. The history and development of the pyrometallurgical processes at Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2011, vol.111, n.10, pp. 705-710. ISSN 0038-223X.

In 1963, the full-scale engineering study for the development of an iron, steel, and vanadium plant was initiated. This was the birth of Evraz Highveld and its process flow as it is known today. Highveld started out as a steelworks that produced steel and vanadium-bearing slag from a titaniferous magnetite iron ore mined from its own mine site near Steelpoort. The process utilized co-current rotary kilns for prereduction, and submerged-arc furnaces for the production of pig iron with approximately 1.15% vanadium. Because of various technical challenges that the submerged-arc furnaces experienced over the years, a decision was taken in 2004 to convert the furnaces to open slag bath (OSB) operation, in order to enable the maximum production of iron and vanadium while improving the control over operational parameters. The conversion proved to be highly successful and, since 2005, three furnaces have been converted to OSB operation. The fourth furnace will be converted in the first half of 2011. The conversion to OSB furnaces not only yields higher vanadium recovery to the metal at the iron plant, but also improves the overall throughput of the steel plant. This is the result of the higher carbon content of the liquid iron from the OSB furnaces, eliminating the need for anthracite addition to the shaking ladle process. This reduces the blowing time by approximately 60%. The conversion of the furnaces to OSB configuration is seen as an enabling technology change and a prerequisite to the implementation of other plant improvements that are envisaged. The longterm vision of EHSV is to convert five furnaces to OSB mode, and permanently decommission the two remaining submerged-arc furnaces. This will allow EHSV to maintain current steel and vanadium production but at a significantly improved overall efficiency.

Keywords : pyrometallurgy; furnace; open slag bath; Evraz; Highveld.

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