Tata Steel, Rio Tinto join to support eco-friendly technology

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 17:20 hrs

Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) Tata Steel and Rio Tinto, leading international mining group based in the UK, have signed a licensing agreement to support technological and commercial development of the environmentally friendly direct iron smelting process, called HIsarna.

According to a company release here Wednesday, the agreement covered how both parties will work together, sharing their existing knowledge of the two technologies that were combined in the new process.

It also covered how benefits from future successful marketing of the technology will be made available to both parties, as well as to the members of ULCOS, the consortium of European steelmakers in whose name the project was being carried out.

The agreement was signed last week by Debashish Bhattacharjee, group director of Tata Steel Research, Development and Technology, and Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

The HIsarna iron making process, which is more energy-efficient and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional steelmaking processes, consists of cyclone pre-reduction technology owned by Tata Steel, and bath smelting technology (HIsmelt) owned by Rio Tinto, the release said.

Karl-Ulrich Kohler, the chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Steel in Europe, said: 'Commissioning of the HIsarna pilot plant represents a potentially key step towards a compact and low-cost ironmaking process with a significantly reduced environmental impact.

'The plant demonstrates one of the first and most promising ways in which the European steel industry is developing breakthrough technologies in response to the challenge of climate change.'

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