Processed iron ore that is iron-rich enough to be used as a scrap substitute in electric furnace steelmaking.
As mini-mills expand their product abilities to sheet steel, they require much higher grades of scrap to approach integrated mill quality. Enabling the mini-mills to use iron ore without the blast furnace, DRI can serve as a low residual raw material and alleviate the mini-mills' dependence on cleaner, higher-priced scrap.
The impurities in the crushed iron ore are driven off through the use of massive amounts of natural gas. While the result is 97% pure iron (compared with blast furnace hot metal, which, because it is saturated with carbon, is only 93% iron), DRI is only economically feasible in regions where natural gas is attractively priced.