Method and system for producing metallic nuggets includes providing reducible mixture of reducing material (such as carbonaceous material) and reducible iron bearing material (such as iron oxide) that may be arranged in discrete portions, such as mounds or briquettes, on at least a portion of a hearth material layer (such as carbonaceous material). A coarse overlayer of carbonaceous material may be provided over at least some of the discrete portions. Heating the reducible mixture to 1425.degree. C. or 1400.degree. C. or 1375.degree. C. results in formation of an intermediate product of one or more metallic iron nuggets, which may have a sulfur content of less than 0.03%, and slag, which may have less than 5% mass MgO, which may have a ratio of percent by weight sulfur in the slag over percent by weight sulfur in the metallic nuggets of at least about 12 or at least about 15.
The present invention was made with support by the Economic Development Administration, Grant No. 06-69-04501, and the Department of Energy, Sponsor Award DE-FG36-05GO15185. The United States government may have certain rights in the invention.