OREANDA-NEWS. International Iron Beneficiation Group Limited (IIBG), an affiliate of OAO Severstal, one of the world's leading vertically integrated steel and steel-related mining companies, has launched a preliminary feasibility study to consider the viability of building a granulated iron facility in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Currently, the locations under active consideration in North America are Sydney, Nova Scotia, Sept-Оles, Quebec (Canada) and sites in Minnesota, Kentucky and Indiana (USA).

These locations would use an innovative process developed by the International Mineral Beneficiation Services (IMBS) based in South Africa. The IMBS process converts superfine iron ore into metallic iron units without the need for agglomeration. The final product would be used for steel production mostly in electric arc furnaces as effective substitute for scrap. The IMBS process is cost efficient and has lower environmental impacts than traditional processes.

The decision on whether the locations under consideration will be developed and in what sequence within the context of an overall North American strategy will depend on the results of the respective feasibility studies and successful launch of the first commercial plant utilizing this technology in Phalaborwa, South Africa.

The Phalaborwa operation and the proposed North American operations would implement the IMBS process. IMBS is leading the Phalaborwa plant construction, where Severstal holds a 33% stake.

“IIBG emphasizes at this time that the company is conducting the necessary due diligence to determine the feasibility and priority of potential sites. IIBG cautions and confirms that no final commitments can be made at this very early stage of the business development process”, — commented Dmitry Solomin, CEO, IIBG.

The feasibility study for Sydney, Nova Scotia will be initiated first to be followed by investigation of few other sites during the course of 2013. A decision on whether to proceed with a project and its sequence will be made at the completion of these studies.

IIBG will provide additional updates to the public as appropriate.