Steel recycling pilot plant to be trialled in Adelaide

Melbourne-based Metallic Waste Solutions has been awarded close to $2 million in Federal Government funding to build a commercial scale pilot plant to recover zinc by-products at its Adelaide steel recycling plant.

The project aims to address issues with the generation of electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), which typically contains significant amounts (20 to 30%) of zinc.

The EAFD is normally treated and disposed of as landfill or treated in energy-intensive, high cost kilns to recover an impure zinc oxide.

The zinc content of EAFD valued at around $3 billion globally, according to a Government statement.

Previous attempts to use hydrometallurgy to extract zinc from EAFD have often fallen short due to the requirement of copious amounts of water and energy

Metallic Waste Solutions has developed a hydrometallurgical process at its Adelaide pilot plant to transform zinc-bearing feedstock and waste such as EAFD into zinc oxide. The company says the process aims to convert the EAFD at low cost, low carbon footprint and low emissions.

Commercialisation Australia’s $1,997,235 Early Stage Commercialisation grant is intended to allow the company to demonstrate the process’ feasibility at a commercial-scale pilot plant. Through the grant, the company to work with a major Australian partner to demonstrate the commercial viability of the recycling method in order to explore its global market opportunity.

Commercialisation Australia also announced another $6 million in funding to 21 innovative businesses and researchers. This brings the total amount of funding issued to date to $112.1 million since January 2010, involving assistance to 292 innovators.