Nickel pig iron

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This is a low purity ferro-nickel which is produced and used exclusively in China as an alternative to primary nickel or conventional ferro-nickel in the stainless steel industry. Much of it goes into the production of the low-nickel, high-manganese content 200 series stainless.

Small blast furnaces, and increasingly electric arc furnaces (EAFs), smelt low grade lateritic (oxide) nickel ores imported from Southeast Asia, to make a product with a nickel content ranging from as low as 1.5% to up to 25% or more. Conventional FeNi typically contains around 40% Ni. The higher grade nickel pig iron mostly comes from EAF producers.

Production economics are highly dependent on world primary nickel prices, as well as on coke and electricity costs.

Other constituents in nickel pig iron are small amounts of chromium, sulphur and silica, and unwelcome levels of phosphorus and carbon – which need to be lowered. Iron accounts for the balance, and can add significantly to the value of the product, as can chromium, depending on their prevailing market prices. And for more detail click and see wikipedia entry.


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