Venturing into iron ore pelletization

FLSmidth and Kobe Steel, Ltd., Japan have entered into a license agreement enabling FLSmidth to market, design and construct iron ore pellet plants using Kobe Steel’s pelletizing process called the KOBELCO® pelletizing system.

Through this agreement, FLSmidth will further explore the iron ore pelletizing markets in India and secure orders for pelletizing plant projects with exclusive rights for FLSmidth India to use KOBE patents, know-how and proprietary rights to sell, design, engineer, manufacture, supply, erect, train staff, commission, start up and provide operational assistance for assigned projects. Extending the service to projects outside India will be decided on a case-by-case basis. 

“Iron ore is one of FLSmidth’s core industries. This agreement with KOBE will enable us to provide customers with a complete iron ore pellets production line comprising of material handling, crushing, screening, washing/beneficiation and pelletization,” said Bjarne Moltke Hansen, FLSmidth Executive Managment. “The synergy between KOBE and FLSmidth is unique with individual business capabilities that will mutually support us to provide value added services to our customers and to take on new opportunities in the iron ore industry.”

India produced 81.2 million tons of crude steel during 2013, and steel production is anticipated to be prosperous in the future according to the World Steel Association. The Indian government’s aim to increase steel production to 300 million tons by 2025 has enhanced the need for iron and other related production facilities, including pellet plants. Kobe Steel and FLSmidth will cater to this demand by jointly promoting the KOBELCO Pelletizing System.

The KOBELCO Pelletizing System makes iron ore pellets that are used as a raw material for blast furnaces and direct reduction plants. Over many years, Kobe Steel has made continuous improvements to the KOBELCO Pelletizing System through the operation of its own pellet plant in Japan and its engineering business, where Kobe Steel has supplied pellet plants and services to companies worldwide. Major projects include a 4 million ton-per-year plant and a 6 million ton-per-year plant for Bahrain Steel, which was formerly known as Gulf Industrial Investment Co. (E.C.). Kobe Steel also received an order for two 4.5 million ton-per-year plants from Vale Oman Pelletizing Company.

About Kobe Steel
Kobe Steel Ltd., together with Midrex Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary company, also supplies MIDREX® Direct Reduction Plants that use iron ore pellets to make direct reduced iron (DRI). As both a steelmaker and a plant engineering company, Kobe Steel offers a unique combination of know-how covering the upstream operations of iron ore pellet and DRI production to client companies.

Kobe Steel is a diversified manufacturer with its major businesses concentrated on materials and machinery. The materials business comprises iron and steel, welding, and aluminum and copper products. Machinery includes industrial machinery, engineering and construction equipment, as well as environmental solutions. Other important businesses are wholesale power supply and real estate. The company has head offices in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit:

CONTACT: Vijayan Chidambara Nadar

About the KOBELCO Pelletizing System

The KOBELCO Pelletizing System is a grate-kiln process where iron ore pellets undergo heat treatment in two stages. Iron ore and binding agents are ground and formed into green balls, the unfired pellets. The green balls are sent to a traveling grate where they are dried and preheated in the preheating furnace. From there, the balls are fired at a high temperature in a rotary kiln. After the pellets are hardened in a process called induration, they are cooled and stored for shipment.

The grate-kiln system is energy efficient. As the pellets are heated in a thin layer in two stages, power consumption is low. In addition, because of uniform firing in the rotary kiln, the pellets are of consistent, high quality. The mixing of the pellets in the rotary kiln enables the pellets to be exposed to the same temperature. The KOBELCO Pelletizing System is also noted for its flexibility in fuel sources. It can use gas and liquid fuels (such as heavy oil), as well as coal to fire the main burner.