Preparations are now being made for the construction of an industrial-scale demonstration plant, the next important step towards fossil-free steelmaking. A site-selection study for the demonstrator is now under way. The choice will fall between the Vitåfors industrial site in the Municipality of Gällivare and the Svartön industrial site in Luleå.
The demonstration facility is the next stage after the pilot plant in Luleå and construction is planned to begin in 2022. The plant will bridge experimental-scale development and commercial-scale production, and constitute an important step in the assessment of the entire value chain from pellet production in Malmberget via direct reduction with the aid of hydrogen to a finished sponge iron. The idea behind the demonstrator is to achieve full-scale production with capacity for just over one million tonnes of iron per year; i.e., about 20 percent of LKAB's total processing capacity in Malmberget and nearly half the production capacity ofSSAB's Luleå blast furnace. Commissioning of the plant is planned for 2025 and the aim is for the world's first fossil-free steel to be produced in 2026.
As part of the site-election study, two parallel consultations are now in progress: one for Gällivare and one for Luleå. The intention is to engage in open dialogue concerning the location and design of the facility leading up to site selection and permit application. Consultation with public administrations, organizations and other stakeholders commenced in June 2020 and will conclude in September. A final investment decision will be taken following the conclusion of permitting processes and other further studies.