LIBERTY Steel is phasing out coal-based steelmaking at Whyalla Steelworks, one of Australia’s oldest and largest steelmaking facilities.
LIBERTY, part of the UK’s GFG Alliance, will install a A$485 million low-emission electric arc furnace at the South Australian steelworks. The new furnace is expected to reduce direct CO2 emissions by 90% compared with traditional blast furnace production. It will also increase steelmaking capacity from 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 1.5 mtpa.
The South Australian Government will provide A$50 million towards the furnace and associated infrastructure through the Whyalla Steel Taskforce. Construction is expected to finish in 2025.
New Direct Reduction Plant to produce green iron
LIBERTY is also investing in a new 1.8 mtpa Direct Reduction Plant (DRP) in Whyalla to process local magnetite ore to produce low-carbon direct reduction iron (DRI). The plant will initially use natural gas and green hydrogen as the reducing agent. It will transition to green hydrogen as it becomes available at scale. Low-carbon and green DRI will feed LIBERTY’s electric arc furnaces in Australia, Asia, Europe and the UK.
‘Through the steps we’re taking to install state-of-the-art low-carbon iron and steelmaking technologies in Whyalla, we will not only support Australia’s climate ambitions, but we will help to decarbonise steel supply chains globally,’ says LIBERTY’s Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta.
‘Whyalla has some of the best conditions to make low-carbon iron and steel anywhere in the world. 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.’
GFG Alliance has invested over A$200 million in the Whyalla Steelworks and mining operations since acquiring it in 2017. The steelworks form the economic backbone of the Whyalla region, accounting for over 43% of the local economy and approximately 42% of local employment. (Source: About the Steelworks | GFG Alliance, accessed June 2023.)
LIBERTY expects to grow permanent workforce numbers over the next 7 years as it transitions to green steelmaking. The construction of the DRP will also create job opportunities. New and redeployed employees will receive training in low-carbon production technologies through LIBERTY’s GREENSTEEL Academy.
Australia’s commitment to net zero
Australia has enshrined in law its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. In its Budget 2023–24, the Australian Government outlined plans to deploy over A$40 billion to make Australia a renewable energy superpower.
The funding commitments are backed by policies and programs that support renewable energy projects and the uptake of associated technologies. Together, they create strong opportunities for companies looking to expand into Australian renewables, hydrogen and new energy industries.
Australia is ranked the world’s third most popular destination for foreign direct investment in renewables in 2022 (Source: fDi Intelligence, 2023 Global Renewable Energy Leaders, April 2023).
LIBERTY’s plan to adopt green steelmaking is one of many major net zero projects in Australia, including:
Read more about Australia’s plans to transition to net zero, including grants, incentives and support available to investors.
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Published: 13 June 2023