Mining, Steel Majors Collaborate on Green Steel

Mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP have announced they will be working with steel manufacturer BlueScope Steel to make Pilbara iron ore suitable for more sustainable direct reduced iron (DRI) processes, away from both coal and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). “We believe DRI is the most prospective technology to decarbonise our Australian business,” said BlueScope CEO Tania Archibald. The companies will be exploring the DRI-electric arc furnace steelmaking pathway, designing a platform for the development of, and potential investment in, a pilot facility that runs off renewable power. “It is becoming even clearer that carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) will not play a meaningful role in steel decarbonisation,” said Simon Nicholas, Global Steel Financial Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “BHP and Rio now also have even less reason not to set measurable Scope 3 emissions targets.” To date, the majority of steel companies planning to build out their low-carbon steelmaking capacity at commercial scale have opted for hydrogen-based or hydrogen-ready DRI plants, rather than CCUS, Nicholas added. The 2030 project pipeline of DRI plants has increased to 94 million tonnes a year (Mtpa), compared to 1 Mtpa for CCUS commercial-scale projects.

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