ArcelorMittal announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire an 80% shareholding in voestalpine’s world-class Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) plant located in Corpus Christi, Texas. voestalpine will retain the remaining 20%. The transaction values the Corpus Christi operations at USD 1bn. In parallel, ArcelorMittal has signed a long-term offtake agreement with voestalpine to supply an annual volume of HBI commensurate to voestalpine’s equity stake to its steel mills in Donawitz and Linz, Austria. The remaining balance of production will be delivered to third parties under existing supply contracts, and to ArcelorMittal facilities, upon the commissioning of its 1.5 million tonne EAF, expected in H2 of 2023.
The Corpus Christi facility enables cost-effective transportation to the Americas and Europe. It currently uses natural gas to directly reduce iron ore pellets into HBI with an Fe content which exceeds 91%. The use of natural gas rather than coal as the current energy input and reductant means that DRI-EAF steelmaking carries a significantly lower carbon footprint. DRI/HBI is therefore expected to play a prominent role in the decarbonization of the steel industry.