GFG Executive Chairman announces GREENIRON and GREENSTEEL initiative
04 April 2023
Electric Arc Furnace
LIBERTY Steel (LIBERTY), part of the GFG Alliance, today announced the phase out of coal-based steelmaking at its Whyalla plant with the signing of a supply contract for a 160-tonne low carbon emissions (low carbon*) electric arc furnace from leading equipment manufacturer Danieli.
The new furnace will lift steelmaking capacity at Whyalla from 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to more than 1.5mtpa.
The supply contract enables Danieli to commission the construction of the cutting-edge electric arc furnace, which will initially be fed by domestic steel scrap and other Fe-bearing materials to deliver an expected 90% reduction in direct CO2 emissions compared with traditional blast furnace production.
Danieli’s patented Q-One technology, the first of its kind, provides capability for a direct feed from renewable power sources which could help to eliminate indirect emissions from Whyalla’s new steelmaking facility.
The installation of the electric arc furnace and associated infrastructure is an investment project that will be funded by the business with an application to be made to the Whyalla Steel Taskforce for a $50 million grant that was committed and funded by the South Australian government in 2016 to be used towards this investment, pending approvals. Engineering work is already advanced and construction is expected to be completed in 2025 replacing the existing Coke Ovens and Blast Furnace.
Direct Reduction Iron Plant
LIBERTY 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). 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 grades for Australian infrastructure projects, and to serve the growing global demand for low carbon DRI. The development follows the successful trials for upgrading Whyalla’s magnetite pellets production to direct reduction grade.
Whyalla CN30 (Carbon Neutral by 2030)
These developments are important building blocks in Whyalla’s CN30 plan which lies at the heart of LIBERTY’s global decarbonisation strategy to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Low carbon and green* DRI made in Whyalla will feed LIBERTY’s network of electric arc furnaces in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the UK helping to decarbonise steel supply chains across the world.
Whyalla’s CN30 plan aims to grow magnetite production to 15mtpa to convert into 10mtpa of green DRI for export and domestic green steel* production. Operations will be overhauled with sophisticated mineral processing techniques at the mines, with state-of -the-art iron and steel making facilities, large scale hydrogen production and storage facilities all connected to renewable electricity generation.
- The supply of a modern 160t Electric Arc Furnace from global equipment supplier Danieli that secures the future of Whyalla
- A 90% reduction in direct CO2 emissions from steelmaking expected by 2025 aligned with the aims of the Federal Government’s Safeguard Mechanism
- Global equipment suppliers engaged for a 1.8mtpa Direct Reduction Plant (DRP) to process locally mined magnetite using natural gas before transitioning to green hydrogen
- The full transformation plan will create additional permanent direct jobs, and redeployment, training, and development opportunities for employees through LIBERTY’s GREENSTEEL Academy
The full transformation under Whyalla CN30 is expected to grow the total permanent workforce numbers over the next seven years as well as adding significant job opportunities during the construction phase. The scale up and transition to electric arc furnace and direct reduction processes will also create opportunities to redeploy, train and develop existing employees in low carbon production technologies through LIBERTY’s GREENSTEEL Academy.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era placing Whyalla at the heart of a global revolution in the steel industry, moving it from being the most polluting of all industries to among the cleanest and greenest,” GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, said.
“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.
“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.
“Whyalla is very proud of the role blast furnace production has played in the history and development of this incredible town and in supporting Australian infrastructure development, but its phasing out allows us to usher in a new era for sustainable iron and steel production that will take employment and prosperity here to new heights.”
The Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas wasin Whyalla for the announcements.
“We’re very excited to see progress on the plan to decarbonise the Whyalla steelworks,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“Whyalla and the broader Upper Spencer Gulf has enormous potential to lead the world in green hydrogen production, helping decarbonise industry across the planet.
“That’s why my Government has selected Whyalla to be the home of our Hydrogen Jobs Plan, which will see the world’s biggest electrolyser and hydrogen power station.
“We look forward to working with key industrial players, including Liberty, to take full advantage of the opportunity to reindustrialise the Upper Spencer Gulf on the back of this.”
- ‘Low carbon emissions’ and ‘low carbon’ is used to describe the production of steel, or a steel product, made through electric arc furnaces, or the production of iron through a Direct Reduction Iron Plant using natural gas and green hydrogen.
- ‘Green iron’ and ‘Green DRI’ is used to describe iron produced through a Direct Reduction Iron Plant using green hydrogen.
- ‘Green steel’ is used to describe steel produced from green DRI, scrap and renewable energy.
- More information on the Magnetite Expansion Project, is available here.
Main image: GFG Alliance Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta announces the new electric arc furnace and direct reduction plant in Whyalla