What is Pig Iron?

Pig iron is a raw material used in electric arc (EAF) steel making and cast iron products.

In EAFs pig iron is produced by smelting iron ore with a high carbon fuel and a flux.  Due to the high carbon levels in the pig iron, it is very rarely used on its own.  It is most commonly mixed with scrap steel, diluting the impurities, to rebirth a new steel product. 

Foundries use pig iron to produce premium grades of ductile iron - this is created when the pig rion is remelted with steel and iron scrap to remove all undesirables.

The traditional shape of the molds used for casting pig iron ingots had many ingots branched off of one long channel, similar to that of piglets suckling off a sow which is where the name 'pig' iron was derived. 

Merchant Pig Iron (MPI)

Merchant Pig Iron (MPI) is cast into ingots and sold to steel and metalcasting industries globally.  There are three different types of MPI as outlined below:


Basic Pig Iron: Used mainly in electric arc steelmaking. 3.5-4.5% carbon, <1.5% silicon, 0.5-1.0% manganese, <0.05% sulphur, <0.12% phosphorus.


Foundry Pig Iron: Also known as haematite pig iron, used mainly in grey iron casting. 3.5-4.5% carbon, 1.5-3.5% silicon, 0.5-1.0% manganese, <0.05% sulphur, <0.12% phosphorus.  


Nodular Pig Iron: used mainly in ductle casting. 3.5-4.5% carbon, <0.05% manganese, <0.02% sulphur, <0.04% phosphorus.

Direct Reduced Iron (DRI)

Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) is produced from direct reduction of iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets or fines) by a reducing gas produced from natural gas or coal. The reducing gas is a mixture, the majority of which is hydrogen (H²2) and carbon monoxide (CO) which act as reducing agents. This process of reducing the iron ore in solid form by reducing gases is called direct reduction.

Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI)

Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) is premium form of DRI.  HBI has been compacted at a temperature greater than 650° C at time of compaction and has a density greater than 5000 kilograms per cubic meter (5000 kg/m3).

Scrap Metal

Scrap Metal comes in common types such as ferrous, busheling and shredded.  Its markert price is determined by the Fe% and impurities within it and blended and clean iron feedstocks help to dilite the inpurities and increase the Fe%.

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