University of Science and Technology (AGH) and ArcelorMittal Poland are starting works on the management of iron-bearing waste


University of Science and Technology (AGH) in Kraków and ArcelorMittal Poland have signed an agreement on cooperation with regards to management of iron-bearing waste for the needs of the economy.

Within the framework of the concluded agreement, AGH and ArcelorMittal Poland shall cooperate primarily in the field of researching the possibilities of iron- bearing waste management for the needs of the economy, including the needs of ArcelorMittal. The agreement assumes developing technological solutions enabling the management of iron-bearing material waste collected in landfills located south of ul. Igołomska in Krakow in an economically justified and environmentally safe manner. Moreover, the cooperation involves implementation and development of the worked-out solutions into the industrial phase. It is also important that a method is developed of closing the landfills in a manner that is as neutral as possible for the natural environment.

The cooperation will consist in, i.a. joint completion of R&D and implementation projects. The AGH team, represented by Prof. Mirosław Karbowniczek, aims for developing solutions which will enable the management of waste produced during a few dozen years of steelmaking activity.

Rector of AGH Prof. Jerzy Lis emphasizes: - AGH since the beginning of its activity has had strong connection with the industry.  Our greatest pride and success are solutions which we provide for the economy and companies. Those from the area of environmental engineering which help to neutralize various challenges are of special importance. It is in the interest of all of us and future generations to care for local natural resources. I am convinced that solutions concerning management of materials deposited at the landfills will improve the quality of this land and the recultivation will increase the comfort of living of the neighbouring community. I am glad that this agreement maps out another area of cooperation of AGH with our important partner - ArcelorMittal Poland.

Professor Mirosław Karbowniczek explains: - As part of the signed contract, developing an innovative method of processing materials collected in the form of post-production waste into charge material for the steelmaking process is being planned. The first results of conducted laboratory tests show the effective possibility of using hydrogen as a reducing agent in the processing of this waste. Firstly, conducting detailed laboratory tests of the metallurgical reactions taking place is being planned in order to design the technological guidelines. Then, building a pilot line to verify the adopted technical and technological assumptions is planned for. The results of the pilot verification will be used to design and build an industrial line for processing waste materials. The aim of the project is both environmental, i.e. waste recycling and land recovery from metallurgical landfills, as well as scientific, meaning the development and implementation of an innovative "green steel" production process using hydrogen.”

- The agreement signed with AGH is definitely a step in the right direction. Circular economy is on everyone’s lips and the actions planned by us is circular economy in practice – they are aimed at managing waste which may be successfully recycled and used in steelmaking processes or by other branches of the economy, e.g. construction or cement industry – says Sanjay Samaddar, chairman of the board of directors and CEO of ArcelorMittal Poland. – Our plan assumes gradual removal of this waste and land clearing so that within 5-10 years this area can be changed completely and given a new functionality, in line with the city’s urbanistic vision. The cooperation with AGH not only fits in the concept of the circular economy but also assumes the application of new technologies, based on the use of hydrogen. The production of “green”, carbon neutral steel, is currently the most important strategic objective of the entire ArcelorMittal Grouphe adds.  

- In the context of this cooperation one needs to bear in mind that the iron-bearing waste was deposited on these landfills for a few dozen years of steelmaking activity, prior to the privatization process. As ArcelorMittal Poland we endeavoured to evacuate it on an ongoing basis, however, this is not an easy task due to relatively small scope of its applications. It is also important to note that due to the shutdown of the blast furnace in our unit in Krakow no new waste is being deposited there – comments Tomasz Ślęzak, member of the board of directors, head of Energy and Environmental Protection at ArcelorMittal Poland, while adding: - The engagement in the process of developing ways of managing this waste of AGH, with its significant R&D potential, creates real possibilities for the development of break-through solutions in this scope.