GFG Liberty Steel Australia Whyalla steel plant

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This article is part of the Global Steel Plant Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

The Liberty Steel Australia Whyalla (aka Whyalla Steelworks) is an integrated steel plant located in Whyalla, South Australia.[1]


The map below shows the location of the steel plant in Whyalla, South Australia.

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Plant History

The Whyalla Steelworks is an integrated and electric steelworks with current capacity of approximately 2.6 million tonnes per annum of cast steel and hot rolled product.[2] GFG Alliance states that the plant is Australia’s "only manufacturer of special grade billet and steel long products" and that it produces "semi-finished steel billets to Liberty Steel and produces custom made hot rolled structural, rail and sleeper products for internal and external customers."[3]

Corporate ownership changes

In April 2016 Arrium appointed KordaMetha to restructure the debt-laden business which included the Whyalla Steelworks. KordaMentha aimed to sell the Whyalla Steelworks and related businesses as an integrated package.[4]

In late September 2017 Liberty House GFG announced that it had bought the Whyalla Steelworks.[5]

In early 2020, Whyalla Steelworks, previously known as Liberty OneSteel or Liberty Steel Whyalla announced a name change to "InfraBuild Steel Centre Whyalla. InfraBuild remains a company of the Liberty Group.[6]

Coal Supply

In January 2018 the GFG Alliance announced that its mining division, SIMEC Mining, had entered into an agreement to buy Glencore’s Tahmoor coal mine in New South Wales. At the time the mine had annual production of about 2 million tonnes of coal a year with most of its product being high-quality coking coal used for primary steel making in blast furnaces.[7]

The company described the purchase of the mine, which ws scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, as "a key element in the GFG Alliance’s transformation plan for its flagship Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia that is designed to optimise and expand production, thereby securing its long term sustainability."

In the media release Gupta stated "the acquisition of the Tahmoor mine is an exciting step forward in our stated strategy to create fully-integrated, end-to-end businesses in Australia, from raw materials and energy right through to high-value finished products ready for market ... Through this purchase we secure and de-risk an important feed for the Whyalla Steelworks."[7]

The purchase of the Tahmoor mine was completed on April 20, 2018.[8]

Power supply

Existing power supply

The South Australian grid, run by the then Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA), was extended to Whyalla by the late 1950s. While the town's supply was progressively transferred to ETSA during the 1960s, BHP continued to supply much of its own needs and those of some other customers that were not economic to transfer to the ETSA network. As BHP's power needs grew it began to use grid power for a greater portion of its own needs.[9] However, as of 2016 the steelworks continues to generate its own electricity to lower its energy costs and increase security of supply.

As of 2005, the Whyalla Steelworks has 66.5 MW of dedicated electricity generating capacity on-site. 57.5 MW of this capacity consists of three turbo alternators driven by steam raised in various boilers, fired primarily by waste blast furnace and coke oven gases. The boilers can also be fired with supplementary fuel oil and natural gas. The boilers also provide steam for process use around the plant. Two 4.2 MW gas turbines operate exclusively on purchased natural gas.[9][10]

Despite this on-site capacity, the plant relies on purchased electricity for a substantial portion of its needs, and only exports power to the grid occasionally.

Renewable energy plans

As part of its plan to overhaul the business, GFG Alliance announced in August 2017 that it proposed to invest up US$1 billion in the Whyalla steelworks and associated mining businesses including to "improve energy generation capabilities, including a new co-generation power plant to capture and reuse waste gases, generating on-site captive power." The announcement also proposed investment in "new large-scale pumped hydro and solar power plants to assist in addressing Australia’s energy imbalance and high energy costs. [5]

Several weeks later GFG Alliance announced that, via its SIMEC Energy subsidiary, had bought a majority shareholding in the energy company ZEN Energy "to deliver cheaper, more reliable and environmentally sustainable energy for SIMEC’s mining operations in South Australia and Liberty OneSteel’s operations in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia."[11]

The company explicity stated that its "main focus" in the development of new energy projects would be on renewable energy.[11]

In late October 2017 the Board of ZEN Energy announced that its board had adopted a strategic plan of proving 1000 megawatts of "additional dispatchable renewable generation assets to support long-term electricity supply contracts with South Australia’s large industrial users, including the Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks." [12]

Included in its proposals "for early development" were "200MW of solar photovoltaics, comprising 80MW in the Whyalla Council industrial area, expanded by 120MW on adjacent land owned by Liberty OneSteel; 100MW/100MWh battery at Port Augusta; a 100MW of demand response at the Whyalla Steelworks and other SA sites; and 120MW/600MWh pumped hydro storage facility at a disused iron ore mine pit in the Middleback Ranges." [12]

Plant Details

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Infrabuild Steel Centre Whyalla, InfraBuild, Retrieved on: May 21, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Liberty Steel Australia, Liberty Steel, Retrieved on: May 21, 2020
  3. LibertyGRG Group, "Liberty in Australia", September 2018, page 11.(Pdf)
  4. "Arrium Australia: Saving a global business with local impact", KordaMetha website, accessed January 1, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "GFG Alliance completes landmark acquisition of Arrium", GFG Alliance, August 31, 2017.
  6. Liberty GFG Alliance, Liberty Steel, Retrieved on: May 21, 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "GFG Alliance agrees purchase of Glencore’s Australian metallurgical coal mine", Media Release, January 2, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Tahmoor Coking Coal Employees Welcomed to the GFG Family", Media Release, April 20, 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mark Parry, "Network service provider registration exemption", Australian Energy Regulator, December 9, 2005.
  10. "Waste Heat to Power Systems," EPA, Last Updated: May 30, 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 ZEN Energy, "GFG Alliance invests in ZEN Energy to create a new Australian National Energy Champion", Media Release, September 20, 2017.
  12. 12.0 12.1 ZEN Energy, "New ZEN Energy Launches Gigawatt Program to Support SA Industry", Media Release, October 30, 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Liberty Steel, Liberty Steel, Retrieved on: May 21, 2020

Related GEM wiki articles

External resources

External articles