Matmor Success with Mongolian Brown Coal

Matmor Success with Mongolian Brown Coal

A sample of Mongolian sub-bituminous coal was recently tested as part of ECT’s ongoing bench test program.

The test combined 1.5kg of Mongolian sub-bituminous coal (30% moisture & 20% ash) with 3kg of Tasmanian Savage River magnetite (63.5%Fe) and 0.5kg limestone.

The result was 90% recovery of the metal on the first attempt yielding a 1 kg sample with 0.3% Carbon and 0.03% Sulphur, making it an ideal feedstock for the likes of secondary steel and iron products.

This test proves the Matmor process works with sub-bituminous coal in addition to the already confirmed lignite.

The economics are simple:

  • Replace coking coal, which sells for around $350 on the spot market, with sub-bituminous coal, which costs around $5 to $10 a tonne to mine.
  • Use high-grade iron ore, or low grade (waste) iron ore
  • Reduce CapEx and pollution by doing away with the need for coking ovens and sinter plants
  • Matmor plant capex is estimated to be less than half of traditional blast furnaces
Raw InputTraditional Steel MakingMatmor
Coal$243 (coking coal)$10 (sub-bituminous)
Iron ore (65% Fe)$176$162
Flux (limestone)$20$9
Total$439$181

Areas such as Inner Mongolia have billions of tonnes of sub-bituminous coal and low grade iron ore deposits. We can now work towards offering a process that allows China, India and other countries to use the previously unviable resources in their backyard to make steel and iron.

The Matmor process is still in development and we are aiming to progress to a 6,000 tonne per annum Pilot next. Scaling up is a delicate process, especially when everyone tells you making steel from brown coal is impossible.

About the Matmor process
Matmor is a unique process for reducing iron ore using brown coal to produce clean, low carbon steel ideal for use as a feedstock to secondary steel manufacture.