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Direct Reduced Iron (DRI)


Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) is the product of the direct reduction of iron ore in the solid state by carbon monoxide and hydrogen derived from natural gas or coal. See more information about the production of DRI.

Most gas-based direct reduction plants are part of integrated steel mini-mills, located adjacent to the electric arc furnace (EAF) steel plant. DRI can be either hot or cold charged to the EAF. Some steel companies ship DRI from their captive direct reduction plants to their remote steel mills and a small volume of DRI is sold to third parties. In India there are many small rotary kiln furnaces producing DRI, known locally as sponge iron, using coal as energy and reductant source. Some of the sponge iron plants are captive to steel mills, but there is a significant domestic merchant market, India producing 57% of its crude steel in electric arc furnaces (2016).

At integrated mini-mills, DRI can be hot charged to the EAF, at temperatures in the region of 650° C, thus making significant energy savings

General specifications for DRI (ranges % by weight)

Based on 65.5 — 68% Fe Iron Ore

Metallisation 92.0 - 96.0%
Fe (Total) 86.1 - 93.5%
Fe (Metallic) 81.0 - 87.9%
C 1.0 - 4.5%
S 0.001 - 0.03%
P2O5 0.005 - 0.09%
Gangue* 3.9 - 8.4%
Size (typical) 4 - 20 mm
Apparent Density 3.4 - 3.6 t/m3
Bulk Density 1.6 - 1.9 t/m3

* residual unreduced oxides, mainly SiO2 and Al2O3,, but also CaO, MgO, MnO, etc.

Benefits in steelmaking

For further information about DRI and its advantages in the EAF, see our Fact Sheet:

Shipping and handling of DRI

Being a highly reduced material, DRI has a tendency to re-oxidise, an exothermic reaction. Thus, without appropriate precautions being taken in its handling, transport and storage, there is a risk of self-heating and fires. The International Maritime Organisation's International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code classifies DRI - Direct Reduced Iron (B) - as Group B (cargo with chemical hazard) and class MHB (material hazardous only in bulk) and requires that DRI be shipped under an inert atmosphere, usually nitrogen.

Further information can be found in IIMA's Logistics Guide DRI: Guide for Shipping, Handling and Storage (planned 2018).


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