South Korea’s Posco announced a collaboration with its Australian mining partner Roy Hill to cut down carbon emissions in mining and steel operations.
The two companies will join forces to conduct research and develop business opportunities in various areas such as hydrogen production, hydrogen-based hot briquetted iron (HBI) production, renewable energy, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).
Steel production that involves hydrogen uses the chemical as a reducing agent and it detaches oxygen from iron in place of carbon monoxide, the typical reducing agent.
The duo will develop an optimal HBI production system by combining iron ore from Roy Hill and Posco’s hydrogen-based steelmaking technique. Oxygen is separated from iron ore presently with the help of coal as a reducing agent in furnace operations. This leads to carbon dioxide emission generation. If hydrogen is the base, it will produce reduced iron without emitting carbon dioxide. Furthermore, they seek to produce hydrogen using Australian natural gas, which is available locally.
Roy Hill Holdings operates the Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The mine has iron ore reserves of 2.3bn mt and its annual output is 55mn mt. Posco holds a 12.5pc stake in Roy Hill Holdings. The steelmaker imports around 15mn mt iron ore from this project, which is a quarter of its annual ore consumption.