Authors: Oluwafemi O. Olayebi
The production of steel from the locally available Itakpe Iron Ore in Nigeria was achieved in the Delta Steel Direct Reduction-Electric Arc Furnace Plant. The ore was originally thought to be unsuitable for use in the direct reduction process due to its low total iron content, less than 64% and high gangue content which was in excess of 4% and above the maximum acceptable limit of 3.5%. Pilot and Plant tests were carried out to determine suitable operating parameters and conditions for its use in the iron making pelletizing and direct reduction plants and also the steel making plant. The excessive oversize pellets, +16 mm > 20% coupled with fairly high cold compression strength of the fired pellets yielded only a moderately high direct reduced iron fines content. The high gangue level which is a major issue in steel production did not however pose any major operational problem at the direct reduction plant. The cost of production of 1 tonne of liquid steel from the local ore was about $61 as against $80 which was the cost per tonne in the use of the imported ores. This report is an examination of the efforts made in overcoming the challenges associated with production of steel from an ore with excessive gangue materials while still ensuring high grade steel products to meet the needs of the Nigerian steel market. Key words: Itakpe Iron Ore, Electric Arc Furnace, Steel, Slag.