Taconite Iron Ore Processing: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)

Rule Summary

On October 30, 2003 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule which includes technology-based National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from taconite iron ore processing facilities. These NESHAP implement section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act and address emissions of HAP from new and existing ore crushing and handling operations, ore dryers, indurating furnaces, and finished pellet handling operations located at taconite iron ore processing facilities that are, or are part of, a major source of HAP. Specifically, this rule requires the application of the maximum achievable control technology to the affected sources listed above.

HAP, or air toxics, are those pollutants known to cause cancer or other serious health effects. This rule was designed to reduce emissions of HAP, including metal compounds (e.g., manganese, arsenic, and lead), acid gases (i.e., hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride), and products of incomplete combustion (e.g., formaldehyde). Exposure to these substances has been demonstrated to cause adverse health effects, including chronic and acute disorders of the blood, heart, kidneys, reproductive system, respiratory system and central nervous system. Some of these substances are considered carcinogens.

A taconite iron ore processing facility separates and concentrates iron ore from taconite, a low-grade iron ore, and produces taconite pellets, which are approximately 60 percent iron and about ½ inch in diameter. These pellets are then utilized, mainly, in blast furnaces making iron and steel and in the cement industry.

Rule History

10/30/2003 - Final Rule.

12/18/2002 - Proposed rule and notice of public hearing.

Additional Resources

Background Information Document for the Proposed Standards

Response to Comments Document

Fact Sheet

Economic Impact Analysis

Related Rules

Metallic Mineral Processing Plants New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)


Iron Mining Association of Minnesota