SSAB proceeds with Luleå zero-emission EAF conversion

SSAB says it will proceed with its overall technological transition, involving the construction of a fossil-free electric arc furnace mini-mill in Luleå, Sweden.

The new Luleå mill will have a crude steel capacity of 2.5 million tonnes/year, and consist of two EAFs, advanced secondary metallurgy, a direct strip rolling mill, and a cold rolling complex, Kallanish hears. It will be supplied with a mix of fossil-free sponge iron from the Hybrit demonstration plant in Gällivare and recycled scrap.

The total mini-mill investment is estimated at €4.5 billion ($4.8 billion), including contingencies. By investing in new technologies, SSAB is avoiding investments otherwise required in existing plant and equipment of €2 billion during the next ten years, the company points out. The plan is to fund the investment with own cash flows and within SSAB’s financial targets.

The new mini-mill will have a better cost position with lower fixed costs, higher efficiency, shorter lead times and eliminated CO2 costs, SSAB notes. The mill design includes a production increase of 0.5m t/y, and mix improvement with 1m t/y increase of special and premium steel grades. Startup of the new mill is planned at the end of 2028, with full capacity to be achieved one year later.

SSAB decided in 2023 to transform the Oxelösund mill to fossil-free production, with Luleå now the second step. As a third step, it plans the transformation of the Raahe, Finland-based steelworks.

Meanwhile, LKAB, SSAB’s partner in the Hybrit pilot plant, has bemoaned bureaucratic hurdles potentially delaying production. “The transition in Sweden is still hindered by time-consuming and unforeseeable permitting processes. We have already been forced to postpone scheduling for the Hybrit demonstration plant to late 2027 and there is a great risk of a delay well into 2028,” says LKAB chief executive Jan Moström.

Ideally, another direct reduction plant with Hybrit technology is projected to be built around 2030, to further increase supply of fossil-free sponge iron.

Christian Koehl Germany