The enterprise began building Europe’s first direct iron reduction plant in 1997, which reached its design capacity of 1 million tonnes per year in 2003.
Lebedinsky GOK began operating a second HBI production plant, with a capacity of 1.4 million tonnes, in 2007, and a third plant was commissioned on 14 July 2017, the day marking its 50th anniversary. Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the official launch ceremony.
The direct reduction process used in the production of HBI is the most environmentally friendly way to extract iron from the ore. It does not produce any of the emissions associated with the production of coke, sinter and pig iron, nor does it produce solid waste in the form of slag.
HBI is almost entirely free of phosphorus and sulphur, which means it is of higher quality. Unlike scrap metal, metallised briquettes do not contain impurities: one of the characteristics of the steel they are used to produce is the purity of its alloy, which is an important feature, including for reuse.
HBI is mainly used for the production of a wide range of high-quality steels for the machine-building, machine-tool-building, oil and gas, automotive, carriage-building, bearing and metalware industries.