01 January 2018 – 31 March 2021


The HIsarna process is a new and breakthrough smelting reduction process for the production of liquid hot metal from iron ores and coal. The main driver to develop this process was the need for an ironmaking process with a significantly reduced carbon footprint and was an outcome of the large EU framework project called ULCOS. Since 2010 a pilot plant has been operational at the Tata Steel site in IJmuiden, the Netherlands.

During previous campaigns, it was becoming clear that the process had a very high raw materials flexibility. The fact that very little raw materials pre-processing is required is a key advantage of the HIsarna process. The coal and ore have to be ground, dried and screened before injection into the process, but no coking or agglomeration is required.

The zinc industry has a demand for zinc ores at acceptable prices, but are also interested in secondary ores to offset the need for primary ores. The availability of primary zinc ores and concentrates is reducing, driving up prices for the ores and concentrates. Therefore there is an increased interest in suitable secondary sources of Zn concentrates.

The ultimate goal of this project is to achieve an enrichment level on Zn in the process dust of HIsarna which would make it suitable for direct use in Zn smelting.

The solution (technology)

Extracting the zinc from HIsarna dust and reusing it for zinc production reduces the environmental impact and contributes to a circular economy.


  • TATA STEEL NEDERLAND TECHNOLOGY B.V., Netherlands (Lead partner)
  • CRM Group, Belgium
  • Nyrstar, Netherlands
  • Delft University of Technology, Netherlands