A new study has highlighted the economic benefits of shipping South Australian-made green iron to the world.

A collaboration between European seaport authority, the Port of Rotterdam, and Monash University shows that South Australian green iron has a 21 per cent cost advantage when compared with shipping its raw components to Europe.

The Green Iron Supply Chain study demonstrates the viability of a local green iron industry that could see the state capture more economic benefit from its magnetite resources.

The South Australian Government said that the state’s comparative advantages stem from its superior magnetite – the form of iron used in the production of green iron and steel – as well as abundant renewable energy generation and the State Government’s investment in green hydrogen power.

The study also points to South Australia’s electricity networks and ports, its ‘one-window-to-government’ regulatory framework for energy, hydrogen and mineral resource investments and the proximity of existing infrastructure to magnetite and hydrogen sources.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis, outlined the findings of the joint study at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam, where the State Government delegation liaised with prospective global partners to accelerate the green iron and steel industry in South Australia.

A formal Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for companies to partner in developing a green iron industry and supply chain in South Australia opens in June 2024.

The EOI will seek interest from companies to jointly investigate the development of a hydrogen-based direct reduction iron (DRI) plant in South Australia before the end of the decade, as announced earlier in 2024 by South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas.

Mr Koutsantonis said, “Green iron and steel will play a pivotal role in decarbonising the global economy and in South Australia, we have what the world needs to deliver on this.

“The world will continue to require steel in a carbon-constrained future, yet the sector contributes to eight per cent of global emissions.

“This Green Iron Supply Chain report confirms that South Australia’s unique natural combination of sun, wind and superior magnetite resources – combined with the state’s early leadership on renewable energy and hydrogen – put us in a strong position to have a critical role in decarbonising global steel production.

“Our 21 per cent advantage is not just a number – it’s a statement of intent.”

Mr Koutsantonis said that South Australia’s leadership in decarbonisation has already captured the world’s attention. 

“We’ve transformed our renewable energy generation from one per cent in 2007 to now around 75 per cent and we’ve committed to achieving 100 per cent net renewables generation by 2027.

“Similarly, our Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act is setting benchmarks in how to engage communities and provide certainty to industry as the renewable energy sector grows.

“Building on our advantages, we’re looking for partners who can help us scale up a commercial industry and supply chain to transform raw iron ore into value-added low carbon exports – meaning new opportunities and more jobs for South Australians.”

Image credit: Kuznechik/Shutterstock.com.

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