The World Needs Steel (and Metallurgical Coal)
Elan is a responsible mineral developer active in Alberta and British Columbia. Our metallurgical coal will be used to produce steel, not to generate electricity.
Steel is a critical component of everyday life
Steel is essential to modern life and socio-economic development globally. It is used to build homes, schools, offices, factories, ships, trucks, cars, buses, bridges, railways, medical equipment, food processing facilities and household appliances – and many more items critical to the functioning of the modern world. Steel is also critical in building renewable energy infrastructure projects such as wind turbines and solar panel frames, as well as the manufacture of electric and low emission vehicles.
The production and use of steel therefore remains a key enabler to urbanizing the developing world and lifting it out of poverty. It is also a critical ingredient in the world’s push towards a carbon neutral future.
Steel is predominantly produced with metallurgical coal
The oxygen (blast furnace) process for steelmaking is currently the most utilized. There are currently no viable substitutes for metallurgical coal in the production of high strength steel.
Electric arc furnaces are an existing alternative although this technology is highly energy-intensive, while relying on the availability of sufficient high quality scrap metal. Over time, this technology is expected to supplement the traditional blast furnace processes, but never fully replace it over the expected life of the Elan project.
Hydrogen has been introduced as a possibility for the manufacture of a “greener” steel using an electric arc furnace. Hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources would replace traditional fossil fuels as a heat source in that process. This technology is being evaluated in several countries, but is many years away from providing competitive, carbon-neutral steel for today’s economy.
Alberta is a world leader
Metallurgical coal found in Alberta is higher quality relative to alternative sources in almost all other countries. When used in producing steel this means that Alberta metallurgical coal delivers lower CO2 emissions (globally) per tonne of steel produced.