The Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research (CIMR) is a partnership between NIER and BHP Billiton, aimed at defining the link between fundamental iron ore and metallurgical coal properties and their performance in ironmaking process.

Both these materials are major export earners for Australia. To meet the strong market demands, new deposits are being developed at unprecedented rates, leading to products with slightly different properties. Our research aims to understand the fundamental mechanisms driving the sintering, cokemaking, and blast furnace ironmaking processes, and to optimise the use of Australian iron ore and metallurgical coal in these processes.

With the global shift to low-carbon iron and steelmaking technologies, the CIMR is dedicated to providing technical support for the Australian iron and coal industry to supply fit-for-market products and transition to a more sustainable position in the global marketplace. We also aim to assist ironmakers to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.

The outcomes of research carried out by CIMR can help users of Australian iron ores and metallurgical coals to:

  • Increase the levels of these ores and coals in their blends - to increase the market share of the Australian component as production increases
  • Define required technological changes when using materials from new deposits - to help customers maintain, optimise or increase production and/or quality of the sinter and coke produced
  • Broaden their range of new raw materials that can be used effectively - to increase the Australian resource base
  • Increase the energy efficiency in sintering, cokemaking and blast furnace ironmaking - to reduce greenhouse emissions
  • Investigate the feasibility the relative merit of alternative and emerging low-carbon emission technologies for iron and steel making
  • Enable recycling of steelmaking slag to sintering and production of high Phosphorus co-products for agriculture.