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Liberty Steel Paves the Way for Advance EAF at Whyalla Plant in Australia
Liberty Steel Paves the Way for Advance EAF at Whyalla Plant in Australia

Liberty Steel Paves the Way for Advance EAF at Whyalla Plant in Australia

  • 06-Apr-2023 12:13 PM
  • Journalist: Kim Chul Son

Australia: Liberty Steel, a UK-based producer, has announced plans to construct an electric arc furnace (EAF) at its Whyalla plant located in South Australia. The move aims to eliminate coal-based Steelmaking while simultaneously increasing Steelmaking capacity.

As per the agreement between Liberty and Italian equipment manufacturer Danieli, a new low-carbon EAF will be installed, raising the Whyalla plant's Steelmaking capacity by up to 500,000 tons per year, from 1 million to over 1.5 million tons per year. Engineering work has already begun, and construction is expected to be concluded by 2025. The new EAF will replace the plant's existing coke ovens and blast furnace.

A new furnace is set to launch with a sustainable approach towards Steel manufacturing. The furnace will use domestic Steel scrap and iron-bearing materials to achieve a remarkable 90% reduction in direct CO2 emissions. This approach departs from traditional blast furnace production.

Additionally, Danieli's patented Q-One technology will enable the furnace to use a direct feed from green power sources. The plant's sustainable approach is in line with future renewable energy development plans in the Spencer Gulf region of Australia's southern coast. The Steelmaker plans to apply for an A$50mn state government grant to partially fund the installation of the electric arc furnace, which requires an investment of between A$400-500mn.

The parent company of Liberty Steel, UK-based GFG Alliance, has recently taken steps towards more sustainable iron production. The company has enlisted the help of global equipment suppliers to set up a direct reduction plant in Whyalla that can process local magnetite ore and produce low carbon iron, with a production capacity of 1.8mn t/yr. Initially, a mixture of natural gas and green Hydrogen will be used as the reducing agent, with plans to fully switch to green Hydrogen once it is more widely available.

This low carbon iron can be used in combination with scrap in the EAF to yield high-quality Steel grades. Additionally, the Whyalla plant has the potential to produce up to 7.5mn t/yr of green iron pellets as part of GFG Alliance's plans for sustainable iron production.

Liberty, the British company that acquired the Whyalla works located 230km north of Adelaide in 2017, has committed to transitioning to eco-friendly Steel production. As part of this effort, the company has constructed a new Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) at the Whyalla plant. The construction for the EAF was initially planned to commence in 2021.

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