Iron Ore Pellets


Iron ore pellets are spheres of typically 8–18 mm (0.31–0.71 in) to be used as raw material for blast furnaces & DRI kilns. They typically contain 63%-67% Fe and various additional material adjusting the chemical composition and the metallurgic properties of the pellets. Typically limestone, dolostone and olivine is added and Bentonite is used as binder.

The process of pelletizing combines mixing of the raw material, forming the pellet and a thermal treatment baking the soft raw pellet to hard spheres. The raw material is rolled into a ball, then fired in a kiln to sinter the particles into a hard sphere.

The configuration of iron ore pellets as packed spheres in the blast furnace allows air to flow between the pellets, decreasing the resistance to the air that flows up through the layers of material during the same The configuration of iron ore powder in a blast furnace is more tightly-packed and restricts the air flow. This is the reason that iron ore is preferred in the form of pellets rather than in the form of finer particles.

Preparation of raw materials

Additional materials are added to the iron ore (pellet feed) to meet the requirements of the final pellets. This is done by placing the mixture in the pelletizer, which can hold different types of ores and additives, and mixing to adjust the chemical composition and the metallurgic properties of the pellets. In general, the following stages are included in this period of processing: concentration / separation, homogenization of the substance ratios, milling, classification, increasing thickness, homogenization of the pulp and filtering.

Formation of the raw pellets

The formation of raw iron ore pellets, also known as pelletizing, has the objective of producing pellets in an appropriate band of sizes and with mechanical properties high usefulness during the stresses of transference, transport, and use. Both mechanical force and thermal processes are used to produce the correct pellet properties. From equipment point of view there two alternatives for industrial production of iron ore pellets: drum and pelletizing disk.

Thermal processing

In order to confer to the pellets high resistance metallurgic mechanics and appropriate characteristics, the pellets are subjected to thermal processing, which involves stages of drying, daily pay burn, burn, after-burn and cooling (in a cooling tower). The duration of each stage and the temperature that the pellets are subjected to have a strong influence on the final product quality.

D.R. Pellets Quality

Chemical Composition

  • Fe 67.0%
  • SiO2 1.50% max
  • Al2O3 0.80% max
  • CaO+MgO 1.00 %
  • Sulphur 0.004% max

Physical Properties

  • Size 8 to 18 mm 90% min
  • (-) 5 mm 5 % max
  • Tumble 95.00 %
  • Abrasion 4.00 %
  • Compressive Strength > 275 kg/pellet

Metallurgical Properties

  • Reducibility index (Jumbo Midrex) 94 %
  • Compressive strength after reduction 30 kg/pellet
  • Basicity 0.38 to 0.40
  • Porosity 29 to 30 %
  • JIS Swelling index 15% max