Indian steelmaker Jindal Steel and Power and Rio Tinto signed a memorandum of understanding in early August 2011 to work jointly toward global commercialization of the HIsmelt direct iron ore smelting technology developed by Rio Tinto. The agreement calls for relocation of the existing HIsmelt plant at Kwinana, Western Australia, to Jindal’s steel plant in Angul, Orissa, India. The relocated plant will be fully owned by Jindal, and Jindal and Rio Tinto will work together to develop and market the HIsmelt technology in the future, with sharing of royalties.

HIsmelt, short for high-intensity smelting, is the world’s first commercial smelting process for making iron directly from iron ore. The technology smelts iron ore fines using non-coking coals and offers significant economic and environmental benefits. Naveen Jindal, chairman and managing director of Jindal, said, “We are excited to tie-up with Rio Tinto for the HIsmelt technology and look forward to developing it for usage in a fully integrated steel plant.”

Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto chief executive - iron ore and Australia, described the agreement as a natural progression for HISmelt technology. “This opportunity with Jindal is most exciting. Integration of the HIsmelt flow sheet into their existing steel works in Angul, Orissa, will accelerate proving of the technology to full design capacity.

“We believe the HIsmelt process remains the future for iron making, particularly in locations where coking coal and good quantity of iron ore lumps are not available and where the need to reduce the environmental footprint is increasing, thereby ensuring the ongoing sustainability of this essential industry. HIsmelt is suitable to the resources of India and offers huge environmental benefits to a steelmaker like Jindal,” said Walsh.

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