“Premiums for imported pellets and lumps next year will likely to go even higher in early 2014 from current levels, as China’s environmental controls prompt more consumption of such material,” a steel mill source in Hebei province said.
Pellets and lumps, which usually have higher Fe content than fines, contain relatively lower silica and alumina per dmtu. Theoretically, steelmaking using more lumps and pellets requires less coke in blast furnaces, which results in lower emissions.
“Actually, the composition of Chinese steel mills’ iron ore feed is changing, as the volumes of blast furnaces expand. That is why in the longer term, demand for lumps and pellets of higher Fe grades will increase.
“Bigger blast furnaces, say 2,000 cubic metres, require sinter fines with an average grade of more than 57% Fe,” Du Yanan, an industry analyst with Umetal, said.
Blast furnaces of 500 cubic...