Sponge Iron

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Source-This post on sponge iron has been created based on the article “‘Ore shortage’ hitting steel production, says sponge iron industry, seeks ban on exports” published in “Bussiness news” on 8 March 2024.

Why in the news?

The sponge iron industry held that an Ore shortage is hitting steel production.

About sponge iron

Sponge Iron
Source: SIMA

1. About:

i) It is made from directly changing iron ore (in any form whatsoever) to iron by a cutback gas or carbon, produced from natural gas or coal. Sponge iron is also called direct reduced iron (DRI).

ii)  Direct reduction processes can be divided roughly into two categories: gas-based, and coal-based.

a) Coal based Sponge Iron / DRI: It is produced using the non-coking coal is called coal-based sponge iron / DRI. This process requires high grade of iron ore and non-coking coal.

b) Gas Based DRI / HBI: Iron oxides are converted to the DRI / HBI by using natural gas in a vertical shaft furnace. For steel producers, it is a preferred metallic, energy efficient and much more eco-friendly route. The product on this route is DRI lumps and in the briquetted form.

2. Production: India has been the world’s largest sponge iron-producing nation since 2003, and 30% of India’s steel production come via this route.

Read more: Issues with Iron Ore Production

UPSC Syllabus: Geography/Indian Economy

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