The manufacture of green steel in Australia has moved a step closer with the approval of two new iron ore mining licenses in the Middleback ranges of South Australia.
The South Australian government gave operational approval for SIMEC Mining for the Cook’s North and Cook’s North West iron ore mining projects near the steel town of Whyalla.
The Cook’s North and Cook’s North West project will expand SIMEC’s hematite iron ore mining operations as the company continues its transition to magnetite iron ore.
While most steel is made from hematite, magnetite iron ore is most suitable for direct reduction using hydrogen insteak of coke, producing low emission ‘GREENSTEEL’ planned by Whyalla blast furnace owner GFG Alliance.
The new project, located about 60km from Whyalla, will see the establishment of new pits and infrastructure.
In August SIMEC, GFG’s mining arm produced its first high quality GREENSTEEL pellets that will underpin the future of steel production utilising hydrogen rather than coal at GFG’s primary steelworks at Whyalla, South Australia.
The pellets were produced from the company’s Duchess South drill core in the Southern Middleback Ranges using innovative technologies proposed for SIMEC’s magnetite mining operations which are currently being expanded.
SIMEC Mining Executive General Manager Iron Ore Operations Jacqui Higgins acknowledged the significant work that went into achieving the new regulatory approvals along with the extensive stakeholder engagement with landholders, traditional owners and other interested parties.
She said: “Today’s announcement is reward for everyone’s efforts, it’s another tangible outcome and forward step in the journey we are on towards a sustainable GREENSTEEL future.”
SA Minister for Energy and Mining Tom Koutsantonis welcomed GFG’s confidence in the area’s mineral deposits and a willingness to plan for future expansion and retain workers in the region.
Koutsantonis said: “The Upper Spencer Gulf has been earmarked by the Government as a future minerals and renewables powerhouse and operations such as SIMEC’s will support regional communities while ensuring minerals and metals are being discovered and mined as we transition to net zero carbon emissions.
“The South Australian Government looks forward to SIMEC’s continued investment in the Upper Spencer Gulf Region as it seeks to realise an ambitious plan for green steel and South Australian exports of refined and value-added products.”
FIRST GREENSTEEL PELLETS MADE AT WHYALLA STEELWORKS
Picture: Simec Mining