RHI opens in Norway largest raw material fusion plant outside of China

RHI, a world market leader in refractories, has built one of the largest fusion plants for magnesia raw materials for more than 75 million euros in Norway.

In this fusion plant, magnesia obtained from sea water is converted to fused magnesia, a highgrade refractory raw material, at temperatures about 2,800 degrees. With a capacity of approximately 85,000 tons per year, the plant is one of the largest worldwide. 120 employees will work at the plant in full operation.

“We are increasing self-supply with magnesia raw materials, which are very important for the refractories industry, to 80% and thus continue to consistently pursue our strategy of backward integration. With this new plant, we will be completely independent from Asian fused magnesia imports. And we are shortening delivery routes to the European RHI sites”, said RHI CEO Franz Struzl at a press conference at the plant in Porsgrunn, Norway.

“The Porsgrunn location offers several advantages, including the infrastructure, the support of local politics and the energy costs in Norway. In addition, we have decades of experience, which gives us a very good command of the complex process of obtaining magnesia from seawater. The construction of the fusion plant is one of the largest onshore investments in Norway in five years and is planned as a long-term investment”, said plant manager Roger Gravdal.

RHI acquired the plant in Porsgrunn and a second raw material plant in Drogheda (Ireland) last year. Both plants are based on the extraction of magnesia from sea water. RHI thus broadened its technological base in extracting refractory raw materials and increased the number of raw material plants to eight. RHI mines magnesite and dolomite at six locations in Austria, Italy, Turkey and China in surface and underground mining. RHI produces about 1,000,000 tons of refractory raw materials per year.

The advantage of fused magnesia from Norway lies in the highly refractory properties caused by the firing process by means of electrofusion, in which the crystalline structure is improved significantly and the magnesia content is increased to nearly 100%. Power consumption amounts to approx. 270 gigawatts per year, which roughly corresponds to the power generated by wind energy worldwide.

Fused magnesia from Norway is primarily used at the European RHI plants Veitsch (Austria), Radenthein (Austria), Aken (Germany) and Duisburg (Germany) and processed to end products for the steel, cement/lime and nonferrous metals industry.

Source: RHI GLAS GmbH