Rio Tinto to Invest $215 Million in Low-Carbon Steel Facility in WA

Rio’s low-carbon steel arrives in WA

Rio Tinto has announced a $215 million investment to develop a low-carbon steelmaking facility in Western Australia.

The facility will focus on the effectiveness of Rio’s low-carbon ironmaking process, BioIron, aimed at further decarbonizing the global steel value chain. This innovative process uses raw biomass, such as wheat straw and canola stalks, to convert iron ore into metallic iron. The facility will trial this method with the goal of eliminating the need for coking coal in steelmaking and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“The world needs low-carbon steel to reach net zero, and we are working to make this a reality by finding better ways to turn our Pilbara ores into steel,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott. “This research and development facility will further test the BioIron process, showcase Western Australian innovation capability, and further demonstrate Rio Tinto’s commitment to supporting and enabling the decarbonization of the steel industry.”

WA Premier Roger Cook expressed his support for Rio Tinto’s decision to establish the facility in Western Australia. “Our plan to turn WA into a renewable energy powerhouse opens up massive economic opportunities for the future, like producing low-emission steel right here at home,” he said. “Processing iron ore in WA will create jobs, reduce the world’s carbon emissions, and help to diversify and strengthen our economy for decades to come.”

The facility will employ around 30 full-time staff and include space for equipment testing to support the scaling up of the BioIron technology. It will also aid in developing a workforce skilled in steel decarbonization, benefiting WA universities and research organizations.

“This is another job-creating clean energy project in our industrial heartland of Kwinana and Rockingham, and part of our commitment to transitioning the industrial strip to a clean energy future,” Cook added. “There is a huge demand for industrial land in the southern suburbs – which is why we’ve created the $500 million Strategic Industries Fund, to open up more industrial land and pave the way for the job-creating projects of the future.”