Whyalla steel mill to decarbonise

Cosmos Magazine


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By Cosmos

The Whyalla steel mill owned by GFG Alliance is to phase out of coal-based steelmaking with the signing of a contract for a 160-tonne low carbon emissions (low carbonelectric arc furnace which will lift steelmaking capacity at the plant by almost 50% to about 1.5mtpa.

The electric arc furnace in the regional town in South Australia, will initially be fed by domestic steel scrap and other iron-bearing materials to deliver an expected 90% reduction in direct CO2 emissions compared with traditional blast furnace production. Engineering work has begun and construction is expected to be completed in 2025 replacing the existing coke ovens and blast furnace.

One of the Alliance partners has also engaged global equipment suppliers for the installation of a 1.8mtpa Direct Reduction Plant (DRP) in Whyalla, that can process local magnetite ore to produce low carbon iron (DRI).

Liberty Steel says the DRP will initially use a mix of natural gas and green hydrogen as the reducing agent, before fully transitioning to green hydrogen as it becomes available at scale. The low carbon DRI can then be fed into the electric arc furnace in combination with scrap to produce high quality steel.

Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance, Sanjeev Gupta, says the decisions mark the beginning of a “new era” placing Whyalla at the heart of a global revolution, moving it from being the most polluting of all industries to among the cleanest and greenest.

Sanjeev Gupta

“Through the steps we’re taking to install state of the art low carbon iron and steelmaking technologies here in Whyalla we will not only support Australia’s climate ambitions, but we will help to decarbonise steel supply chains globally.

Read more in Cosmos: How can we decarbonise the global chemical industry?

“Whyalla has some of the best conditions to make low carbon iron and steel anywhere in the world and with our magnetite expansion plans, coupled with South Australia’s endless resource for renewable energy and green hydrogen, the potential for Whyalla has no bounds.”

The Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas, described the plan as: “…decarbonising the Whyalla steelworks.”

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, says the project will be supported by the new $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

“The world’s climate emergency is regional Australia’s jobs opportunity, and today’s announcement is further proof of that in Whyalla,” Minister Bowen said.

Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, says steel-making and fabrication is an essential part of the Australian economy.

“The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will support green steel and green aluminium manufacturing by targeting up to $3 billion to invest in renewables and low emissions technology.”

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