Author Topic: New Plant at Reynolds  (Read 84022 times)

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2012, 12:03:40 AM »
Historically, hematite ore was dug out  of the ground and shipped. The lower grade stuff, taconite, was ignored until concentration methods made it  feasible to use . Taconite was pellets from day 1. Hematite was pelletized to some extent, once the blast furnace operators found pellets advantageous to use.

The natural ores were nearly exhausted fighting WW2 and fueling the postwar boom. Taconite is actually a plentiful, iron-bearing (magnetite) rock that is the feedstock for all of the current Mesabi Iron Range pellet plants. It is crushed to the consistency of talc, and the magnetite is separated from the waste rock via magnets. It is then formed into balls using bentonite clay as a binder. In the case of flux pellets, limestone is also a component of the balls. (Without limestone, they are acid pellets.) The balls are then fired in a kiln and we get the pellets we are all familiar with. The firing process changes the magnetite to hematite, which is why the pellets are not magnetic. The low-grade ores that feed the pellet plants on the Marquette Iron Range require either magnetic separation for magnetite or flotation for hematite during their respective concentration stages. Believe it or not, corn starch is used in the flotation process in the concentration of hematite! Most of the pellet plants on both iron ranges offer public tours during the summer months. These offer excellent insights into this mysterious process.

steve_wall

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2012, 05:05:26 AM »
Yep, you got it. And after looking at some of the news releases, the plant looks to be an end run around the basic stupidity of Minnesota officials that don't understand where jobs come from.

bn13814

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2012, 08:17:12 AM »
Yep, you got it. And after looking at some of the news releases, the plant looks to be an end run around the basic stupidity of Minnesota officials that don't understand where jobs come from.

A Minnesota site was ruled out maybe a year ago. I think the state thought it should get the plant because, well, the company is headquartered there  :P

Reynolds was competing with Parkland, Wisconsin. Streator, Illinois was even being considered.

Laguna Man

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2012, 10:57:39 AM »
Now we'll see if CSX can offer a delivered price low enough to keep the traffic off the TP&W. The BNSF won't be taking less to move traffic via Peoria over a Chicago interchange. I don't see the TP&W handling the business unless it finds a way to access the customer directly. This development may also be connected to the CN/CSX trackage agreement both sides agreed to in recent months.

bn13814

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2012, 12:19:56 PM »
Now we'll see if CSX can offer a delivered price low enough to keep the traffic off the TP&W. The BNSF won't be taking less to move traffic via Peoria over a Chicago interchange. I don't see the TP&W handling the business unless it finds a way to access the customer directly. This development may also be connected to the CN/CSX trackage agreement both sides agreed to in recent months.

Google aerial photos show switches outside the loop west (CSXT) and east (TP&W) so both railroads could have their own access. The former would be easiest.

Btw, a drawing of the plant can be found here; http://www.magnetation.com/home/about-magnetation/operations/pellet-plant

According to my calculations, 3,000,000 metric tonnes (1 metric tonne = 2,204.6 pounds) may equal 250 120-car ore concentrate trains per year, or about FIVE TRAINS PER WEEK. Don't know about outbound volume. Obviously, BNSF power would probably run through to Reynolds regardless of delivering carrier.

Rate divisions are interesting. BNSF could hand off trains to CSXT (via BOCT) at Western Ave. in Chicago or at McCook (which would require routing via Galesburg and former ATSF). If TP&W is willing to accept less than CSXT, then they'll probably get the business. CSXT probably has the outbound pellet business locked up though.

shane_man15

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2012, 12:25:15 PM »
Seems as if CSX will probably get the business anyways. They even show an outbound switch for it on the drawings. Granted it wouldn't be hard to build a connection off of the TP&W, but who knows.
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steve_wall

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2012, 12:27:57 PM »
I spent some time this morning researching this plant and find that it will make iron ore pellets, rather than iron carbide that I speculated about. It will use hematite ore, rather than some by product, like mill scale or  ferrous grinding dust.  The hematite will be reclaimed from lower grade deposits left from earlier mining efforts and will be crushed and concentrated, using Magnetation's patented technology. The concentrator uses magnetic methods, rather than floatation that would be typically used on hematite. Magnetation's process is somehow able to work with hematite, which normally is not very  magnetic. The concentrate will be shipped  to Reynolds, leaving the bulk of the gangue (waste) behind in Minnesota. The Reynolds plant will take the fine mesh hematite powder and mix it with Bentonite clay and form the "pellets" (little balls) in a rotary kiln type of device. The rolling action causes the moistend hematite powder and clay to ball up, then the pellets are baked to make them hard enough to resist shipment damage. The plant will also need rail shipments of Bentonite and also limestone if making the fluxing grade of iron ore pellet. As a metallurgical engineer, I found all of this fascinating. These guys not only came up with a process, but already have a plant in Minnesota and a second one under construction.

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2012, 12:50:20 PM »
I spent some time this morning researching this plant and find that it will make iron ore pellets, rather than iron carbide that I speculated about. It will use hematite ore, rather than some by product, like mill scale or  ferrous grinding dust.  The hematite will be reclaimed from lower grade deposits left from earlier mining efforts and will be crushed and concentrated, using Magnetation's patented technology. The concentrator uses magnetic methods, rather than floatation that would be typically used on hematite. Magnetation's process is somehow able to work with hematite, which normally is not very  magnetic. The concentrate will be shipped  to Reynolds, leaving the bulk of the gangue (waste) behind in Minnesota. The Reynolds plant will take the fine mesh hematite powder and mix it with Bentonite clay and form the "pellets" (little balls) in a rotary kiln type of device. The rolling action causes the moistend hematite powder and clay to ball up, then the pellets are baked to make them hard enough to resist shipment damage. The plant will also need rail shipments of Bentonite and also limestone if making the fluxing grade of iron ore pellet. As a metallurgical engineer, I found all of this fascinating. These guys not only came up with a process, but already have a plant in Minnesota and a second one under construction.

I'm not sure where all the confusion about what sort of plant this was going to be came from. It was to be a pellet plant whether situated on the Range or elsewhere. The original tranportation scheme was to be rail-water-rail, with lakers carrying the pellets from the Twin Ports to Torco in Toledo. I wouldn't be surprised if water transport plays a role in the long term if this whole scheme is successful.

The Magnetation process uses spiral separators and extremely powerful magnets to pull the hematite out of the mine tailings. The rest of the process (pellet making) is relatively standard, as Steve mentioned. The Missabe Railroad Historical Society toured the Magnetation facility at their convention last August. Unfortunately, I could not make it this year. :(

bn13814

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2012, 01:12:50 PM »
I'm not sure where all the confusion about what sort of plant this was going to be came from. It was to be a pellet plant whether situated on the Range or elsewhere. The original tranportation scheme was to be rail-water-rail, with lakers carrying the pellets from the Twin Ports to Torco in Toledo. I wouldn't be surprised if water transport plays a role in the long term if this whole scheme is successful.

Was this favored if the Parkland, Wisconsin site had been selected? I suppose anything can change but media reports indicate an all-rail option is planned.

http://www.superiortelegram.com/event/article/id/251060/publisher_ID/36/

"Magnetation will transport iron-ore concentrate from Itasca County to Indiana via the BNSF Railway, and the pellets will move to the steel mills by rail as well."

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2012, 01:33:48 PM »
Was this favored if the Parkland, Wisconsin site had been selected? I suppose anything can change but media reports indicate an all-rail option is planned.
http://www.superiortelegram.com/event/article/id/251060/publisher_ID/36/
"Magnetation will transport iron-ore concentrate from Itasca County to Indiana via the BNSF Railway, and the pellets will move to the steel mills by rail as well."

Yes, all-rail from the Range (concentrate) to Indiana, and from Indiana (pellets) to AK Steel. My statement referred to a pellet plant on the Range shipping rail-water-rail. Lots of things have changed since then, but even a plant near Superior (Parkland) would have most likely use water shipments if the volume warranted. I think we all have to wait and see what shakes out!

E-Unit

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2012, 02:59:23 PM »
The plant will also need rail shipments of Bentonite and also limestone if making the fluxing grade of iron ore pellet. As a metallurgical engineer, I found all of this fascinating. These guys not only came up with a process, but already have a plant in Minnesota and a second one under construction.

If they need limestone, they picked the right place. There is a rail served mine in Kenland on the TPW. Francisville on the CSX does as well but they haven't shipped by rail in a long long time. 
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torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2012, 03:06:14 PM »
If they need limestone, they picked the right place. There is a rail served mine in Kenland on the TPW. Francisville on the CSX does as well but they haven't shipped by rail in a long long time.

Only if that stone is suitable for the process.

bn13814

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2012, 03:20:16 PM »
If they need limestone, they picked the right place. There is a rail served mine in Kenland on the TPW. Francisville on the CSX does as well but they haven't shipped by rail in a long long time.

Bentonite will likely come from Canadian Pacific's (DM&E) Colony Line in South Dakota. Routing should be CPRS-(Chicago)-CSXT. Unless that's not the right kind of bentonite.

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2012, 03:26:01 PM »
Bentonite will likely come from Canadian Pacific's (DM&E) Colony Line in South Dakota. Routing should be CPRS-(Chicago)-CSXT. Unless that's not the right kind of bentonite.

Yes, as that's where it generally comes from for the existing pellet plants.

MSchwiebert

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2012, 08:19:24 PM »
Wonder if this product will supplement or supplant the existing Taconite that the AK mills use?  Also if CSX is going to keep the business from Reynolds to AK's Middletown OH mill, how would they route the traffic?  If this product replaces the current taconite, the port of Toledo is going to take a big hit tonnage wise.

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2012, 08:55:14 PM »
Wonder if this product will supplement or supplant the existing Taconite that the AK mills use?  Also if CSX is going to keep the business from Reynolds to AK's Middletown OH mill, how would they route the traffic?  If this product replaces the current taconite, the port of Toledo is going to take a big hit tonnage wise.

The product of the Reynolds plant will not be Taconite, rather iron pellets, as is the case with all pellet plants! The practice of calling pellets "Taconite" has caused much confusion in the past, and now. Yes, Toledo/Torco will indeed take a big hit, if this operation succeeds. Lots of pellets came via CSL from Quebec.

scraphauler

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2012, 09:10:32 PM »
Also if CSX is going to keep the business from Reynolds to AK's Middletown OH mill, how would they route the traffic?

One would have to suspect it would go down Monon to Indy , then either/or/combination of Indianapolis Line to Sindey, then south on the Toledo, or the Indianapolis Sub to Hamilton and up to Middletown.  Or, CSXT could get the short end of the stick and TPW take it to Logansport and give to NS.

Ok fantasy railroaders.  Everyone keeps pining for the diamonds at Tipton and Indianapolis to be replaced and the former NKP through Nobelsville reconnected to the outside world.  How about Kokomo Grain kicking US Rail out and reinstalling CERA as operator of CERA, CERA gets freight concession from HHPA and get diamonds put in, and the pellets go TPW-CERA-CIND to Cincinnati then IORY to Monroe for NS delivery into AK.  I know that will never happen - but at least this dream scenario has real traffic that could support it.  Wouldn't it be nice to see a long drag of pellets rolling down the street in Nobelsvile?
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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2012, 09:13:30 PM »
One would have to suspect it would go down Monon to Indy , then either/or/combination of Indianapolis Line to Sindey, then south on the Toledo, or the Indianapolis Sub to Hamilton and up to Middletown.  Or, CSXT could get the short end of the stick and TPW take it to Logansport and give to NS.

Ok fantasy railroaders.  Everyone keeps pining for the diamonds at Tipton and Indianapolis to be replaced and the former NKP through Nobelsville reconnected to the outside world.  How about Kokomo Grain kicking US Rail out and reinstalling CERA as operator of CERA, CERA gets freight concession from HHPA and get diamonds put in, and the pellets go TPW-CERA-CIND to Cincinnati then IORY to Monroe for NS delivery into AK.  I know that will never happen - but at least this dream scenario has real traffic that could support it.  Wouldn't it be nice to see a long drag of pellets rolling down the street in Nobelsvile?

Watching long pellet trains roll through Noblesville at 8 mph would be awesome. The looks of frustration on those yuppie's faces would be priceless!! ;D

torgy1962

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #38 on: November 28, 2012, 09:18:52 PM »
Don't forget that the customer's traffic department chooses the routing! They can ship the hoppers via California if they want!

bn13814

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Re: New Plant at Reynolds
« Reply #39 on: November 28, 2012, 09:40:05 PM »
Don't forget that the customer's traffic department chooses the routing! They can ship the hoppers via California if they want!

Funny, I thought railroad pricing would be a factor in routing  ::)