Residents in Hamilton, Ontario, were startled by explosions and reddish-brown smoke emanating from ArcelorMittal Dofasco on Christmas day. At around 11:10 a.m., a reaction between water and liquid iron ore occurred during the slag casting process at the No. 4 blast furnace, creating a series of eruptions and air emissions. There were no injuries from the blasts, the company said.
Spokesperson Marie Verdun said in an update: “The incident was a series of eruptions that occurred during the Slag Casting process – when slag and molten iron from the Blast Furnace are separated and the slag is cast. In this case, liquid slag/iron came into contact with moisture, which caused the eruptions. (The blast furnace produces liquid iron used in steelmaking. Slag, a byproduct, is cast, then pelletized and used in aggregate applications).”
The air emission likely contained iron, iron oxide and water vapor as well as silica, calcium, magnesium, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, added Verdun. The facility suffered no damage or disruption to production.
This is the second incident at the Canadian mill during the fourth quarter. On Nov. 14, a liquid steel spill at the No. 2 caster caused a fire and significant emissions. Cleanup and restoration to the area was completed Dec. 18.
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