$200m in grants for regional steel manufacturing

“Steel is essential for our energy transformation. 90% of the materials that go into making a wind turbine are steel and cement, and we're going to need a lot more of it,” Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.
“Steel is essential for our energy transformation. 90% of the materials that go into making a wind turbine are steel and cement, and we’re going to need a lot more of it,” Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.

The Federal Government is providing $200m in grant funding to BlueScope Steel Limited and Liberty Steel Australia to secure Australia’s steelmaking industry.

The first round of the Powering the Regions Fund (PRF) will provide funding to both companies to progress projects in NSW and South Australia.

BlueScope has been awarded $136.8m towards the reline and upgrade of its No. 6 blast furnace at the Port Kembla Steelworks.

This project will maintain domestic production, reduce emissions, and support pathways to producing even lower-emissions steel in the future.

LIBERTY has also been awarded $63.2m towards the purchase and commission of a low carbon electric arc furnace (EAF) to replace the existing traditional blast furnace at the Whyalla Steelworks. The new state of the art EAF will support the manufacturing of green steel and help achieve LIBERTY’s aim of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen says it is vital that Australia supports its industries to adopt and manufacture cleaner technologies.

“Total steel demand for the energy transformation from 2022 to 2050 will be almost 5bt, accounting for 75% of the total material requirement – and that steel will increasingly be green steel,” he said

“We want to make sure products vital to our economic future like green steel are made in Australia, but this will require innovation and new ways of processing iron ore that decarbonise our steel industry.

“Regions like the Illawarra and Whyalla have been industrial powerhouses for generations, making the steel used in building our houses, infrastructure and industry, while creating jobs, and we want to see this continue.”

The BlueScope project will employ approximately 250 additional workers on site during the upgrade and reline of the blast furnace, including the thousands of jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks. LIBERTY’s shift to green iron and steel will increase its workforce by around 24% over five years and provide retraining and reskilling opportunities for existing employees.

Federal Assistant Treasurer and Whitlam Member Stephen Jones says the Federal Government wants Australia to be a manufacturing powerhouse.

“This investment boosts the Port Kembla Steelworks and local jobs, while ensuring steel making remains internationally competitive and sustainable,” he said.

These grants are the first to be delivered under the PRF through its Critical Inputs to Clean Energy Industries program, which supports hard-to-abate sectors like steel.

The Federal Government has also committed $200m in grant funding for the hard-to-abate cement and lime and alumina and aluminium sectors, with successful projects to be announced in the coming months.