NLMK Group has signed a memorandum of intent (MoI) with the Belgorod Region administration and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade for a new metals and mining project in the country with an investment of approximately $3.4bn (RUR250bn).

The project, which is based on the latest and environmentally friendly technologies, will involve the construction of a new metals and mining facility at the Stoilensky mining and beneficiation plant.

It includes the development of several production stages and mastering a new product, hot briquetted iron, for NLMK Group.

NLMK Group CEO Grigory Fedorishin said: “Hot briquetted iron is currently in demand both in Russia and on the global market. Using this product in making steel cuts CO₂ emissions in half versus traditional technologies.

“The project marks the beginning of NLMK Group’s planning process for its new strategic development stage, Strategy 2030.

“High-tech integrated digital production with a low carbon and climate footprint is set to reinforce the company’s competitive advantages.”

As part of the project, the existing open-pit mine will also be expanded to increase iron ore output from the existing 43 million tonnes (Mt) to 67Mtpa.

New beneficiation capacities are also planned for a total of 10Mt of concentrate.

The project will also cover the construction of a pelletising plant with a 9Mt capacity and a 2.5Mt HBI shop.

The latest technologies to be employed during construction will ensure a reduction in the environmental impact of production.

They include gas purification systems, a closed-loop water system, reuse of waste, conveyor transport in the open-pit mine, among others.

The project is set to create up to 1,300 new jobs and its implementation is planned for 2024-2027, with commissioning scheduled for 2027-2028.