Philip Kirchlechner, Iron Ore Research: New opportunities for magnetite
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Philip Kirchlechner, Iron Ore Research: New opportunities for magnetite

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Philip Kirchlechner, Director, Iron Ore Research Pty Ltd delivered this presentation at the 2012 FeTECH conference, the leading forum for technical developments evolving around the exploration,......

Philip Kirchlechner, Director, Iron Ore Research Pty Ltd delivered this presentation at the 2012 FeTECH conference, the leading forum for technical developments evolving around the exploration, mining and beneficiation of iron ore.
FeTECH 2013 will focus on the economics of processing and the beneficiation of iron ore. In light of the slowdown in demand for iron ore and pricing decreases, the need to process more efficiently and cost effectively is a challenge. The conference will take a closer look on how we can achieve greater value from the iron ore supply chain, with topics addressing optimisation and streamlining processes, applying improved technologies, understanding the ore body and how to properly characterise it, knowing the steelmakers needs. For more information and to register, please visit the conference website:

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  • 1. New Opportunities for Magnetites 3rd Annual Fe TECH 2012 26 September Philip Kirchlechner Iron Ore Research Pty Ltd
  • 2. Contents • • • • • • History of magnetite industry Customer support for magnetite projects Iron ore market evolution Changing customer preferences Emerging marketing issues What can we do to enhance opportunity?
  • 3. Magnetite is nothing new • Magnetite ores account for 40% of iron ore production worldwide (Source: Geoscience Australia) • LKAB has been producing magnetite pellets and fines for more than a century – Leading global pellet producer – Mined 1 billion tonnes magnetite since 1899 • The Chinese steel industry has used magnetite concentrate for decades – Chinese domestic production 2010: 315 Mt (60% equivalent) – Support for at least 8 magnetite projects in Australia • The steel industry has relied on major North American magnetite producers – Cliffs Natural Resources, IOC, QCM
  • 4. Strong support for magnetite projects from China, Japan, and India Project/Company Investor South Down Sino Iron Australasian Cape Lambert Karara Centrex Extension Hill Sojitz, Kobe Steel, Shagang Citic Pacific, MCC APAC, Shougang Concord MCC Ansteel Wisco Asia Iron, Chongqing Chonggang Minerals Development Investment Ltd Mitsubishi, Posco Baosteel Jindal Jack Hills Glacier Valley/FMG Apollo
  • 5. Iron ore market evolution Magnetite increasingly attractive as hematite grades declining Trends • Increasing goethite in Australian ores • Declining Fe grades • Increasing phosphorus, silica and alumina levels • Declining hematite supply as premium Brockman ores are depleted • Declining lump supply • New mix of goethite- hematite ores • Declining production of magnetite Fe units in China • Increasing technical complexity in ore blend selection for customers
  • 6. Magnetites aren’t Magnetites High BF processing costs Blast Furnace Slag Volume Index 120 100 80 Low B F processing costs 60 40 20 0 M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M9 M10 M11 M12 M13 H1 H2 H3
  • 7. Emerging Marketing Issues • Magnetites can be processed into 67-69% Fe concentrates, higher than most hematite fines • As more high alumina and high phosphorous hematite products enter the market… – ….higher demand for low impurity magnetite concentrate • Magnetic properties make magnetite easy to process • Fine magnetite concentrate can be processed into pellets. • Pellets are attractive iron ore products: – – – – – – high iron content uniform quality easy to transport Low fines generation can be directly charged into the blast furnace can increase productivity • Increasing demand for pellets as customers face long-term decline in lump supply – Steel mills need supply of hard direct charge material to maintain high blast furnace productivity
  • 8. Additional Advantages • Exothermic (energy releasing) properties – Requires lower energy input in pellet production – Environmentally friendly • Emergence of Pellet Feed market – New pellet plants in China provide new opportunity for pellet feed suppliers • High Fe magnetite concentrate can be processed into Direct Reduction (DR) grade pellets. – Increasing market in the Middle East
  • 9. Changing Customer Preferences • Robe River ore was once considered a low quality ore • Marra Mamba took extensive marketing and technical work to gain customer acceptance • Yandi was considered low grade – Now it is a popular brand • Increasing focus on Value-in-use (VIU) may increase acceptance of magnetite concentrate in the future • Greater appreciation for a high Fe / low impurity concentrate in the sinter market – Some Chinese mills have installed pre sinter agglomeration plants allowing concentrate to be used as sinter feed
  • 10. What can we do to enhance opportunity? • Blending with high impurity hematite products • Alliances across different projects and companies to exploit chemical synergies • Partnering strategies with Asian steel mills keen to build independent supply to reduce dependence on majors
  • 11. Contact Philip Kirchlechner Lou Jelenich Director Director Iron Ore Research PTY LTD LFJConsulting Pty Ltd ABN: 18 119 514 920 Mobile: +61-418-937-429 Email: Skype: philip.kirchlechner Email: