Hydrogen plant buildout plan under way at metals smelter in Rustenburg

1st November 2023 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Hydrogen plant buildout plan under way at metals smelter in Rustenburg

BurnStar CEO Dr Johan Brand with test reactor.

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Work has begun on the development of a hydrogen plant at the smelting site in Rustenburg of Ironveld, the London Aim-listed speciality metals producer.

The required funds have been raised to proceed with the manufacture and installation of a commercial demonstration plant that will produce hydrogen from compressed natural gas for green steel reforming at the smelter, BurnStar Technologies stated in a media release on November 1.

Full operational readiness of the five kilograms an hour turquoise hydrogen plant is anticipated by the end of the first quarter of next year.

BurnStar intends using the Ironveld demonstration as a springboard into the commercial clean hydrogen supply market.

“We’ve already started on development of a five ton per day unit and will soon be able to incorporate the learnings from commencing this first commercial operation early next year,” BurnStar CEO Dr Johan Brand highlighted.

This follows Mining Weekly reporting in April that Ironveld Energy had signed a hydrogen agreement with BurnStar to facilitate the production of green metals in South Africa.

Ironveld’s smelting division processes the group’s magnetite ore into high-purity iron, vanadium slag and titanium slag.

Backed by South African venture capital and incubator fund Savant, BurnStar has reached agreement with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solutions provider Turnkey Modular for the EPC of the first commercial Guilt-Free HydrogenTM catalytic molten metal reforming plant. Funding from Johannesburg- and New York-listed platinum group metals and gold mining company Sibanye-Stillwater has also been secured, the release stated.

“This process uses eight times less energy than electrolysis and only 4 kg of methane is required to produce 1 kg of hydrogen,” said Brand.

Once the BurnStar plant begins producing, Ironveld plans to evaluate hydrogen’s use as a green reducing agent in the Rustenburg smelter’s high-purity steel production process.