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Tata Steel signs pact with Rio Tinto on HIsarna iron smelting

Tata Steel today said it has signed a licensing agreement with mining major Rio Tinto for commercial development of environment-friendly direct iron smelting process , called HIsarna.

"The agreement covers how both parties will work together, sharing their existing knowledge of the two technologies that are combined in the new process," it said in a statement.  The HIsarna iron-making process consists of cyclone pre-reduction technology (CCF), owned by Tata Steel, and bath smelting technology (HIsmelt), owned by Rio Tinto.

"This combination offers excellent opportunities for the collection and geological storage of carbon-di-oxide, ability to utilise lower-cost raw material feeds and the prospect of energy savings through the elimination of stages in the ironmaking process," the statement added.  The HIsarna technology has long-term potential to replace conventional blast furnaces, coke ovens and sinter plants and to reduce carbon-di-oxide emissions by more than 50 per cent if combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Funded jointly by the consortium of European steelmakers' ULCOS, the European Commission and the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry, a HIsarna pilot plant is being commissioned at Tata Steel's IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands.  The six lakh tonne per annum plant is intended to allow the two constituent technologies to be tested in combination.

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