The refinancing of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance two weeks ago has kick started work on plans for a massive, world-scale Greensteel investment by the company which would transform its Australian operations centred on the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia.
AuManufacturing understands negotiations have been underway in recent days involving GFG and Santos with a view to announcing a new green hydrogen production facility, electric arc furnace (EAF) and direct reduced iron (DRI) plant, possibly prior to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s appearance at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Representatives of Fortescue Metals Group were the latest to fly into Whyalla last night, though the nature of FMG’s involvement is unclear. Fortescue over the past week has announced numerous clean technology manufacturing plans through the Fortescue Future Industries venture.
An announcement of the world’s first new greenfield, green hydrogen powered steel plant by a global company would give the Prime Minister some much needed ammunition to take to Glasgow to help silence critics of Australia’s climate policies.
This morning GFG Alliance told @AuManufacturing: “We remain committed to decarbonisation of heavy industry and our Greensteel vision.
“We are continuing work to progress the development of Greensteel hubs at our key steelmaking sites, including our Whyalla Steelworks.
“Our transformation plans include the use of DRI technology and green hydrogen to make low carbon steel, a green economy and long-term environmental benefits.”
However further questions from @AuManufacturing remain unanswered by GFG at the time of publication.
Such a plant would likely attract federal support and potentially free up a $50 million South Australian government grant which has been promised by the former Labor government. Liberal Premier Steven Marshall is in a minority in Parliament and facing an election in the new year.
The plant is likely to be sited on a parcel of land near the Port Bonython petrochemical works – expressions of interest have been called for the site which is the focus of the renewed talks.
Asked about the Port Bonython land, Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin told @AuManufacturing: “Yes I do know a little about that.”
When asked about the renewed negotiations a spokesman for SA energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan asked for questions in writing, hung up and later referred them to the department. No answers had been received at the time of publiucation.
The Greensteel project, announced by GFC on 10 June, would be initially be fuelled by gas supplied by Santos through an existing pipeline from the Cooper Basin, before transitioning to green hydrogen. There are any number of large renewable energy projects proposals in the region.
Announcing the project Gupta said: “We have to-date invested over $60 million in the engineering and design work for this project and are now ready to take the next steps of finalising funding and commencing construction.
“We plan to start construction later this year for the mill, and next year in 2021 for the EAF and DRI facilities.
“With this, the Whyalla Transformation Project will finally become a reality.”
This investment blueprint builds on previously-announced plans for a new Rolling Mill to be built by Danieli Group, Italy, and GFG’s own renewable energy projects including 280MW Cultana solar power plant, and the Playford big battery, although the future of these projects has been under question due to the financing issues.
View GFG Alliance’s video on the Whyalla Greensteel project here.
This article was originally posted on AuManufacturing. Reproduced with permission of the author.