08 diciembre 2023
BHP has signed an agreement with China’s HBIS Group Co., Ltd (HBIS), one of the world’s largest steelmakers, to trial direct reduced iron (DRI) production and utilisation of BHP iron ores in blends and progress a separate enhanced lump stage 2 trial aimed at lowering blast furnace (BF) carbon emissions.
To support the development of alternate electrified pathways of steel production for a wider range of iron ores, under this new agreement, the parties aim 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. The DRI plant uses hydrogen-rich gas byproducts in the steelworks to convert ore into a metallic iron product that is further refined for steel.
Additionally, the enhanced lump stage 2 trial will focus on the existing BF steelmaking route, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by increasing the use of direct charge lump and reducing the need for agglomerated feed which requires fossil fuel energy.
BHP’s latest collaboration agreement with HBIS will tap into the investment of up to US$15 million over three years proposed by BHP and HBIS in an earlier Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2021.
BHP’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said: “HBIS Group is a key partner to BHP and an industry leader in assessing and demonstrating a range of potential pathways to reduce GHG in steelmaking.
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.”
BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “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.
DRI is an important element of our pathways to near-zero-emission steel production and in the decarbonisation journey 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.”
This new agreement expands on the work streams laid out in the 2021 MoU between the parties and proceeding announced since; Phase 1 research and development work announced in 2022 – in conjunction with HBIS and University of Science and Technology Beijing, a recently completed enhanced lump stage 1 trials at one of HBIS’s plants in Hebei province, and the most recent CCUS pilot trials announced in March this year.
HBIS Chairman Yu Yong said: “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 looks forward to strengthening our comprehensive strategic synergy with BHP in the sustainable development of steel in the years ahead.”