We understand the energy transition will require a massive ramp up in mining, and the opportunities this represents for minerals-rich Western Australia.
But, a recent study by the Minerals Research Institute of WA (MRIWA) highlights a major additional contribution our mining industry could make to global decarbonisation efforts.
The Western Australia’s Green Steel Supply Chain Opportunity report reminds us that seven per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from steel production. And, with 38 per cent of the world’s iron ore coming from WA, we are a significant part of this footprint.
The immediate opportunity is to decarbonise mining activities in WA, which our big miners are already working towards.
But the big prize, in terms of both emissions reduction and economic impact, is to leverage our natural gas resource and emerging green hydrogen industry to undertake processing activities in WA, as an alternative to coal driven processes overseas.
While identifying incremental steps along the journey, the MRIWA report concludes that green steel production might ultimately be viable in WA using electric arc furnace technology, as a part of a fully integrated domestic supply chain, powered by 100 per cent renewable hydrogen and renewable electricity.
Critical minerals, green hydrogen and the decarbonisation of the steel supply chain. Each vital to preventing the worst impacts of climate change. And each representing a massive economic opportunity for Western Australians.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.