Gov’t pledges $136.8M to BlueScope for clean energy steel production

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Image credit: BlueScope

Australian steelmaker BlueScope Steel has secured $136.8 million in grant funding from the Australian Government’s Powering the Regions Fund (PRF).

This financial support is designated for the No.6 Blast Furnace reline and upgrade project, a critical initiative to sustain iron and steel production in the Illawarra region, the ASX-listed company said in a media release.

The announcement was made today by the Federal Government as part of the first round of the Powering the Regions Fund under the Critical Inputs to Clean Energy Industries (CICEI) program.

The CICEI program, with a total budget of $400 million, was established following recent Safeguard Mechanism reforms.

It aims to support hard-to-abate sectors in maintaining domestic manufacturing capabilities, particularly in industries essential for the development of Australia’s clean energy sectors.

BlueScope said its successful application for the PRF grant underscores the government’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices in vital sectors.

The funding will serve as an offset to the capital cost of the No.6 Blast Furnace reline and upgrade project, ensuring the ongoing viability of iron and steel production in the Illawarra region.

Speaking at a media conference held at Port Kembla Steelworks alongside the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Tania Archibald, BlueScope’s chief executive Australian Steel Products, expressed gratitude for the CICEI grant.

“BlueScope greatly appreciates the CICEI grant, which supports the No.6 Blast Furnace reline and helps secure ongoing iron and steelmaking and job security in the Illawarra,” said Archibald.

She highlighted the critical role of Port Kembla Steelworks as the sole domestic manufacturer of flat steel products in Australia, providing high-quality steel products crucial for various sectors such as building and construction, energy, infrastructure, and defence.

Archibald also underscored the significance of Australian steel in realizing the nation’s low emissions future, stating, “Australian steel is an indispensable ingredient in building Australia’s low emissions future.”

Acknowledging the emissions-intensive nature of BlueScope’s operations, Archibald noted that the CICEI grant, subject to finalising a grant agreement, serves as a crucial step in BlueScope’s transition to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.