BHP and HBIS Group strengthen partnership to decarbonise steelmaking

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Image credit: BHP

BHP has partnered with China’s HBIS Group to test direct reduced iron (DRI) production and utilisation of BHP iron ores, focusing on reducing blast furnace (BF) carbon emissions.

Under this new agreement, the parties intend to trial commercial-scale DRI production using BHP iron ores in blends at HBIS’s newly commissioned DRI plant and then evaluate the performance of the DRI in downstream steelmaking steps to support the development of alternate electrified pathways of steel production for a broader range of iron ores. The DRI plant converts ore into a metallic iron product further refined for steel using hydrogen-rich gas byproducts from the steelworks. 

The enhanced lump stage 2 trial aims to decrease carbon emissions by increasing direct charge lump usage and reducing the need for agglomerated feed, which requires fossil fuel energy.

BHP’s current partnership deal with HBIS would leverage an earlier Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2021, which suggested an investment of up to US$15 million over three years.

Adertisement

BHP CEO Mike Henry said HBIS Group is a leading industry partner for BHP, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in steelmaking through various potential pathways.

“Our work with customers like HBIS Group, together with our own actions, aims to accelerate progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions right along the value chain,” Henry said.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer Vandita Pant commented, “I am delighted to build on our existing partnership with HBIS Group, one of the world’s largest steelmakers and an important customer for BHP’s high quality Pilbara iron ores.”

Pant stated that DRI is a crucial component in the company’s journey towards near-zero-emission steel production and the decarbonisation of the steel industry.

“We are working with HBIS Group to demonstrate the use of BHP iron ores in DRI production trials. Together with other collaborations we have underway, including electric smelting furnace (ESF) development, the outcomes are expected to provide pathways to reduce carbon emissions from steel production using BHP’s products,” she added.

The new agreement builds on the 2021 MoU and subsequent work streams, including Phase 1 research and development work in 2022, enhanced lump Stage 1 trials at HBIS’s Hebei plant, and recent CCUS pilot trials announced in March this year.

“HBIS and BHP are aligned in their aims to help develop greener, low-carbon solutions that can reduce emissions in steelmaking, leveraging on our long-standing and trusted relationship that we have forged over several years. The agreement signed today is another landmark following our substantive cooperation in areas such as CCUS, and highlights HBIS’s efforts to build a low-carbon raw material supply chain,” HBIS Chairman Yu Yong said.

“HBIS looks forward to strengthening our comprehensive strategic synergy with BHP in the sustainable development of steel in the years ahead.”