The federal government has announced $200 million in grant funding through the first round of the Powering the Regions Fund (PRF), awarded to upgrade steelmaking at BlueScope’s Port Kembla and Liberty Steel’s Whyalla sites.
In a statement on Wednesday, the two grants were described as:
“Clean, green Aussie made steel is the way of the future. Our economy needs it and it will sustain and create great jobs in our regions,” said industry minister Ed Husic.
According to the statement, the BlueScope project will create about 250 new roles on site during the upgrade and reline. Meanwhile, the Whyalla upgrade is predicted to increase jobs at Liberty by “around 24% over 5 years”.
BlueScope announced it would go ahead with the reline of its previously mothballed No. 6 blast furnace in August last year, with its No.5 Blast Furnace expected to conclude its life sometime between 2026-30.
No. 6 is expected to come online in 2026.
Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, announced a contract with supplier Danieli for a 160-tonne electric arc furnace (EAF) in April last year.
The grants are the first from the PRF’s Critical Inputs to Clean Energy Industries program for hard-to-abate sectors like steel. The government has committed a further $200 million in grant money for the hard-to-abate cement and lime and alumina and aluminium sectors, “with successful projects to be announced in the coming months.”
“Steel is essential for our energy transformation. 90% of the materials that go into making a wind turbine are steel and cement, and we’re going to need a lot more of it,” said energy minister Chris Bowen.
“Total steel demand for the energy transformation from 2022 to 2050 will be almost 5 billion tonnes, accounting for 75% of the total material requirement – and that steel will increasingly be green steel.”
Picture: credit www.whyalla.com/steel-works