South Australia seeks collaborators for green iron and steel production

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The South Australian Government will officially commence its search for partners to initiate the Green Iron and Steel industry, reinforcing the state’s standing as a dominant force in sustainable iron production.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced the call for an expressions of interest (EoI) process in June, inviting businesses to collaborate on exploring the establishment of a hydrogen-based Direct Reduction Iron (DRI) plant within the state.

According to the government, the commercial de-risking study will play a crucial role as the first step in utilising South Australia’s rich deposits of quality iron ore to supply green iron worldwide.

Its findings will inform the identification of specialised industrial precincts and requisite infrastructure to mitigate investment risks in green iron and steel ventures in South Australia.

Additionally, it will steer the government’s initiatives to foster partnerships, both within the industry and with the Commonwealth, aimed at attracting investments into this burgeoning sector.

With aspirations to inaugurate the DRI plant before the decade draws to a close, the South Australian Government is championing a shift towards sustainable iron production methods.

DRI plants offer an alternative to traditional coal-fired furnaces by utilising renewable sources, such as hydrogen, to slash emissions from the iron-to-steel conversion process by a staggering 95 per cent.

Moreover, the output of DRI, known as hot briquetted iron (HBI), boasts notable advantages over conventional iron ore in steelmaking processes. These include higher iron content, lower impurities, and enhanced process efficiency.

Premier Malinauskas highlighted the global demand for steel and the increasing necessity for green iron and steel as the world moves towards decarbonisation.

He emphasised that South Australia possesses the essential resources for a Direct Reduction Iron (DRI) plant in the Upper Spencer Gulf, including abundant magnetite reserves and forthcoming access to renewable hydrogen derived from the region’s abundant wind and solar energy.

“This is our moment – an opportunity to build a new industry, to deliver exactly what the world needs, growing jobs and prosperity in our state,” the premier remarked.

Tom Koutsantonis underscored South Australia’s potential for economic growth through green re-industrialisation, featuring critical minerals like copper as well as green iron and steel.

He stressed the need for proactive collaboration with industry partners to ensure South Australia remains an attractive destination for investment and business operations.

South Australia, endowed with abundant magnetite reserves crucial for DRI technology, coupled with its pioneering strides in establishing an advanced hydrogen industry, is strategically positioned to seize the opportunities presented by the green steel revolution.

This announcement serves as a cornerstone of the government’s forthcoming Green Iron and Steel Strategy, an integral component of the State Prosperity Project, slated for release in the coming months.