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16th April 2021

AQS Begins DRI Production in Algeria

Bellara Industrial Zone (El Milia, Wilaya de Jijel), ALGERIA (April 8, 2021) – Algerian Qatari Steel (AQS) has announced the start-up of its 2.5 million tons per year (t/y) MIDREX® Direct Reduction Plant on February 13 and first production of on-grade Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) a few days after. The plant is capable of producing both hot DRI (HDRI) and cold DRI (CDRI) and is equipped to transfer and charge HDRI to the nearby AQS steel mill to take advantage of the retained heat. The first successful charge of HDRI to the AQS Electric Arc Furnace #1 (EAF #1) was on March 24.

The AQS Bellara Steel Complex is equipped with the most advanced technology in the world and includes nine environmentally friendly production units, which guarantee maximum production efficiency and product quality that meets international standards. The main production units include: a MIDREX Direct Reduction Plant, with a rated annual capacity of 2.5 million tons; two EAF melt shops, with total annual production capacity of 2.2 million tons; and three Rolling Mills, with total annual production capacity of 2 million tons of reinforcing bars and wire rods. The second phase of the investment program will be devoted to the production of other types of special steels used in many industries, bringing the production capacity to more than 4 million tons per year.

“Today, we can say that construction of the complex is essentially complete with the start-up of the DR plant,” AQS General Manager Yousef Ahmed Al Muhannadi said. “The DR plant is a principal unit, processing iron ore into a clean metallic iron for steelmaking. The impact of starting this plant is high because it will systematically reduce the cost of the final steel product and allow the company to be highly competitive.”

“Our immediate target is to concentrate on the local market,” Mr. Al Muhannadi explained, “then our declared strategy will be to penetrate the international market. In the end, the steel customer is the winner.” 

Deputy General Manager Sofiane Chaib Setti said, “The DR plant is the first unit in steel production at our complex. We are so proud with the start-up and first production of HDRI for the steel shop. The DR plant will be operated 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, with the nominal capacity of 312 tons per hour.”

The DRI plant was supplied by Midrex Technologies, Inc. and its consortium partner, Paul Wurth.

“On behalf of the entire Midrex Technologies team, I want to congratulate AQS on the start-up and operation of its DR plant,” KC Woody, Chief Operating Officer of Midrex Technologies said. “Any successful major industrial project relies on the hard work, commitment, and cooperation of all those involved. We are proud to have worked with AQS and Paul Wurth in making this plant a reality.”

“Despite the hurdles of the ongoing pandemic and thanks to the efforts and commitment of the AQS, Midrex Technologies & Paul Wurth teams, a milestone of utmost importance has been achieved. This is going to set new standards in the way of decarbonizing steelmaking and represents another fundamental step in the industrial development of Algeria,” Thomas Hansmann, Chief Technology and Operations Officer of Paul Wurth, said.