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BHP and POSCO to collaborate on low-carbon steelmaking technologies

BHP and South Korea’s POSCO have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore greenhouse gas emissions reduction technologies in integrated steelmaking.

As part of the MoU, the parties intend to undertake pilot and plant trials to lower carbon in the steelmaking process, including optimising coke quality and assessing carbon capture storage and utilisation (CCUS) options to lower carbon intensity in the blast furnace.

POSCO and BHP also intend to share research on hydrogen-based direct reduction technology, the use of biomass in steelmaking, as well as the potential to leverage BHP’s carbon offsetting capabilities in the development of carbon neutral steel products.

BHP intends to invest up to $10 million over the next five years under the MoU, with the opportunity to increase investment in technologies under the trial. BHP’s investment will be drawn from its $400 million Climate Investment Program, announced in 2019 to support projects, partnerships, research and development to help reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

BHP and POSCO also intend to collaborate on the reporting of carbon emissions through the steel value chain to further progress consistent, transparent and robust global standards.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “The pathway to net zero for steelmaking is not yet clear but we believe that, by working with industry leaders like POSCO, together we will find solutions more quickly to help reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking and along the value chain. BHP recently announced a goal to pursue net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050 and we are committed to working with industry leaders in steelmaking to address this hard-to-abate sector.

“Steel is a critical product for the world to grow and decarbonise, and we must work hard together to enable greener steel, reducing carbon intensity in the blast furnace and testing new technologies for steel production.”

POSCO’s Head of Steel Business Unit, Hag-Dong Kim, said: “Though achieving carbon neutrality is a difficult path ahead, with POSCO working together with BHP’s outstanding mining expertise and the will to achieve a low-carbon future, I have every reason to believe that we can create a significant turning point in carbon emission reduction across our value chain.”

The MoU with POSCO follows BHP’s earlier partnerships established with major steelmakers China Baowu, JFE Steel and HBIS Group to explore emissions reduction from steelmaking. The combined output of the four steel companies equates to around 12% of reported global steel production.