Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Group have partnered with BlueScope Steel to launch the pioneering Australian green steel project. This collaboration aimed at commercializing lower-grade iron ore from Western Australia’s Pilbara region, reducing global steelmaking emissions.

To remain competitive in the face of rising international competition in the green iron market and to reduce its carbon footprint are the two challenges that Australia’s iron ore industry is currently facing. This project addresses both issues head-on, positioning Australia as a key player in the global transition towards net-zero steel production.

Australia’s leading iron ore producers will explore the feasibility of an electric smelting furnace, marking an ambitious shift towards sustainable practices within the traditionally carbon-intensive sector. The Australian green steel project aims to leverage Australia’s rich iron ore resources and expand the hydrogen industry to produce low-cost, value-added green steel for export.

With several initiatives being implemented to support the decarbonization of the steel industry, this could significantly cut emissions from iron preparation for steelmaking. Western Australian iron ore, in particular, is expected to play a crucial role in this transformation.

This joint venture also aligns with the recently-announced India-Australia Green Steel Partnership, a five-year program funding CSIRO research to support the commercialization of technology that aids the transition to net-zero steel.

The project’s success could transform steel production, reducing its carbon footprint. It’s worth noting that steelmaking is responsible for 7 to 9 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. Simon Trott, from Rio Tinto, emphasized the urgent need for industry transformation to meet climate goals.

The pre-feasibility study is set to conclude by the year’s end. Costs will be split equally among the companies, though specific figures were not disclosed. BHP is also collaborating with Hatch on a similar pilot plant in Australia.

The partnership between BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Australia’s leading steelmaker signals a pivotal moment in the country’s journey towards green steel production. By harnessing its iron ore resources and hydrogen capabilities, Australia is positioning itself at the forefront of global efforts to produce sustainable, low-carbon steel.

Image Source: International Mining