Growth in the sponge iron production can be attributed largely to the popularity of secondary steelmaking route, which has shown a phenomenal growth in India. The proportion of crude steel produced by the secondary steel sector rose from 26 mMT(37%) in 1999-2k to 54 mMT(59%) in 2007-08. This has been mainly due to the lower investment cost of the EAF as compared with the integrated blast furnace--oxygen converter route and also because of its greater flexibility of product mix. The process of sponge iron manufacturing involves removal of oxygen from iron ore. When that happens, the departing oxygen causes micro pores in the ore body, turning it porous. When the eventual product is observed under a microscope, it resembles a honeycomb structure, which looks spongy in texture. Hence the name sponge iron.
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