U.S. Steel to invest $150 million dollars for a DR grade pellet system in Minnesota

U.S. Steel is moving into the DR grade pellet market. The company announced Tuesday they have plans to invest $150 million dollars into a DR pellet system in Minnesota this fall.

The company owns Minntac and Keetac. The announcement does not say which plant would be making the DR grade pellets.

DR grade pellets have a higher iron content, and are used in Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) processing. That material goes into the electric arc furnaces, which are different than the traditional blast furnaces. The company said they’ll have the option of selling the new pellets or use them for a potential future DRI facility of its own.

“This is the biggest announcement in four decades. The fact that U.S. Steel is investing $100-$200 million in Minnesota Ore Operations, and with steelmaking in this country moving towards electric arc furnaces, the steelworkers are extremely excited for this news,” shared John Arbogast, from the United Steelworkers District 11.

The announcement also said they are working with SunCoke Energy to repurpose two blast furnaces at Granite City. SunEnergy would then build a pig iron production facility there. DR grade pellets can be used to make pig iron as well.

Cleveland-Cliffs began making DR grade pellets at their Northshore plant in Silver Bay in 2019. But they have moved production of that pellet to Minorca. They are using those pellets to feed their own HBI plant in Toledo.

This is a developing story.