In an exciting collaboration, iron-ore miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group have partnered with steelmaker BlueScope Steel to consider the development of Australia’s first electric-smelting furnace pilot plant. This innovative project aims to produce low-carbon steel from iron ore using renewable power and direct reduced iron (DRI) technology.
As two of the world’s largest iron ore miners, Rio Tinto and BHP, together with BlueScope Steel, are committed to demonstrating their ability to produce molten iron from Pilbara ore using renewable energy. They are actively exploring various locations in Australia for the proposed pilot plant. Pending approval, the plant could be commissioned as early as 2027.
Given that Australia’s Pilbara region accounts for over half of global iron ore exports, this collaboration holds immense significance. Currently, most of the iron ore from this region is used in blast furnaces in Asia, which rely on coal for steel production.
“If the pilot is successful,” the companies stated, “it could help pave the way for near-zero greenhouse gas emission-intensity operations for steelmakers that depend on Australian iron ore to meet global steel demand.”
This promising development signals a potential breakthrough in sustainable steel production, fueling optimism for a greener future in the industry.