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Pilbara’s steel mill abandoned

AUSTEEL has abandoned plans to build an integrated steel mill project in WA’s Pilbara region.

Instead the steel mill will be built in the New South Wales city of Newcastle, which has a strong history of steel production.

Austeel CEO John Elmore said the company would proceed with its $3 billion mining and downstream processing project at Cape Preston, about 80 kilometres south of Dampier.

He said the company was still developing an open-pit mine, extensive downstream processing facilities, a gas-fired power station, deep water port and a range of support infrastructure.

The project’s environmental review process is well underway.

Its Hot Briquetted Iron plant will produce 4.62 million tonnes of HBI a year.

The mine, based on the Fortescue deposit, is expected to produce 20 million tonnes of iron ore per year. Its magnetite ore will be processed on site in a concentrator pellet plant.

The processing plant will be powered by a 320 megawatt gas-fired power station with gas coming from the nearby North West Shelf project.

The HBI will be transported 25 kilometres by conveyor to the new port at Cape Preston and shipped to Newcastle as feed for Austeel’s new 3.85 million tonnes per annum electric arc steel furnace.

The steel products from the Newcastle plant are expected to be worth $2.5 billion a year.

Mr Elmore said the company’s decision to set up its steel mill in New South Wales had nothing to do with the election of the Gallop Labor Government.

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