Baffinland, German firm explore low-carbon steel production in Nunavut

By Kierstin Williams, Nunatsiaq News - February 29, 2024
Baffinland Iron Mine Corp. operates the Mary River Mine on northern Baffin Island. The mine produces high-grade iron ore.(File photo)

High-grade Nunavut iron ore called key to ROGESA’s plan to lower its emissions during manufacturing

The territory’s largest private-sector employer and a German steelmaker are working together to develop and produce low-carbon “green” steel using iron ore mined in Nunavut.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. and ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar mbH have signed a memorandum of understanding to continue investigating the use of Nunavut ore in the process, the two firms announced in a news release earlier this month.

Ore mined at the Mary River Mine, located on northern Baffin Island, is some of the “highest-grade direct shipping iron ore in the world,” said Peter Akman, spokesperson for Baffinland, in an email.

The release notes ROGESA’s emissions-reduction program requires the kind of high-quality iron ore that Baffinland can supply.

Carbon is vital in the production of steel, increasing the strength and durability of the product.

The definition of “green” steel varies across the industry, but generally refers to steel produced using lower carbon emissions, reducing the environmental impact from production.

Steel manufacturing accounts for eight per cent of total global carbon emissions, according to statistics published by the World Economic Forum in 2022.

Akman said low-carbon, or green steel is the most critical element in the global transition to reduce the environmental impact of the steel industry.

Akman said Baffinland’s role in low-carbon steel production will involve its on-site mine operations and shipping process.

“This operation is different from many others in that the iron ore is crushed and screened on site, and then shipped directly to markets,” Akman said.

“No concentrating or processing is needed, and therefore no tailings are produced.”

Akman could not confirm whether the agreement with ROGESA will create any new jobs at the Mary River Mine. He said that as the company learns more about the process, “that information will likely lead to new production developments that could lead to more employment opportunities.”

This is the third deal Baffinland has inked to investigate the use of Nunavut iron ore in low-carbon steel production.

Two other memorandums of understanding were signed last year with German-based steel production companies Salzgitter Group and ThyssenKrupp Steel.

Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Nunatsiaq News is dedicated to covering affairs in Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec since 1973. It has been a partner to ArcticToday and its predecessors since 2016.

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