By Peter Roberts
Not content with his planned $1 billion investment in solar power and pumped hydro storage at Whyalla in South Australia, steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta has flagged an even bigger push to turn the region into a green industrial powerhouse.
In an interview with The Australian newspaper the owner of steelmaker GFG Alliance revealed he was looking at a stepping up his investment in renewables once his 280MW Cultana solar power plant, Playford big battery and pumped hydro storage development utilising former iron ore mines was complete.
According to reports he said he was now looking at up to 3,000 megawatts of renewables to power a new green hydrogen steel plant at Whyalla.
“I really want to focus on doing a much bigger 2000-3000MW plant after Cultana to feed hydrogen. All of our energy projects will be part of an industrial transformation to carbon neutrality.
“We will finish Cultana first and then step on the gas to do the expansion.”
GFG has already substantially replaced ageing steelmaking facilities at Whyalla, bringing its capacity up to 1.8 million tonnes a year and achieving breakeven on its operations.
China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) has in parallel been running a feasibility study into building a new steel plant in Whyalla capable of producing 10 million tonnes a year, almost double Australia’s current steel production.
The news comes as the Eyre Peninsula region shapes up to become a green industry hub built around renewably powered hydrogen and ammonia production, as reported by @AuManufacturing on Friday.
It need hardly be said that the prospect of value-adding our mineral resources to steel produced with green power is extremely exciting.
It offers Australia the way to reverse our increasing dependence on exporting undifferentiated commodities, at the same time displacing carbon-polluting industries offshore.
A number of such ventures are being developed in various states and territories with the Whyalla region emerging as the leader.
Watch this space.
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