The Bay Area Historical Society held its annual meeting Friday, Oct. 18, at the Silver Bay Golf Course clubhouse, where the main topic was the iron ore pellet.

Cleveland Cliffs Northshore Mining retired engineer Mike Osmundson shared information on the process of creating direct-reduced iron, or DR-grade, pellets.

The new pellet production process at the mining plant outside Silver Bay is the only U.S.-based iron ore processing facility to produce low-silica, DR-grade pellets.

What is a DR-grade pellet?

A DR-grade pellet is a pellet with low-silica, high-iron product produced by the direct reduction of iron oxide at a temperature below the fusion point of iron.

What happens to a DR-grade pellet?

Once formed, the pellet is shipped to Cliffs' hot briquette iron plant in Toledo, Ohio. The briquettes can be used in modern electric arc furnaces used to make steel more efficiently.

How long has the new process been in progress?

Osmundson shared some experiences he had through the 1980s and 1990s in developing the new pellet production process. There were many attempts to create a new form of pellet before the new process was found to work.