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Whyalla steelworks restart ‘imminent’ – Gupta

Manufacturing News

Steelmaker GFG Alliance’s Sanjeev Gupta has told staff that the company which operates the Whyalla steelworks was ‘very confident’ faulty furnace at the site would be restored ‘imminently’.

However this could be as late as next month according to local trade unions.

Gupta said via video: “The last couple of months have probably been amongst the most challenging for the team in Whyalla.

“The blast furnace went down unexpectedly when we were doing some routine maintenance, and it’s been very difficult to bring it back.

“Everybody in Whyalla of course but all around GFG and indeed all of GFG’s friends from around the world have contributed to try and bring it back as soon as possible.”

The blast furnace – Australia’s only source of steel rails and structural steel, has been closed since March due to an uncontrolled iron breakout which damaged the furnaces outer shell, necessitating complex repairs.

Gupta said GFG had imported billets and blooms to ‘de-risk’ the restart process and to satisfy orders through existing inventory.

GFG also revealed that the $500 million electric arc furnace (EAF) it has ordered for the Whyalla Steelworks will not be completed until 2027.

The company said on Wednesday that its subsidiary, Liberty Primary Metals Australia was finalising] the design of its new plant which is replacing the use of coal in steelmaking operations.

Under Liberty’s transformation plan a Direct Reduced Iron facility, a new Electric Arc Furnace and heavy-section combination Rolling Mill (pictured) will turn the works into a unique GREENSTEEL producer.

Canberra is supporting the transformation to the tune of $63 million, while $50 million is also in the wings from the state government.

The SA Energy and Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis is travelling in Italy, where he will view progress on the electric furnace at Danielli’s facilities in Rome.

Further reading:
Whyalla steelworks idle following shutdown damage

Picture: GFG Alliance/GREENSTEEL Whyalla plans

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