SEOUL -- South Korea's steel group POSCO and its Australian partner, Hancock, will consider establishing a new plant to produce low-carbon hot briquetted iron (HBI), which is a compacted form of direct reduced iron. Also on the table is the joint development of an Australian mine owned by Hancock to secure high-quality iron ore.
Direct reduced iron is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore into metallic iron by a reducing gas or elemental carbon produced from natural gas or coal. BI is manufactured with well-defined, consistent chemical and physical characteristics.
Under an agreement with Hancock, an Australian company specializing in mining and agriculture, POSCO would consider establishing an HBI plant by using hydrogen as a reducing agent. A feasibility study will be conducted on a pilot facility to produce hydrogen using Australia's excellent renewable energy conditions.
POSCO and Hancock have conducted a preliminary feasibility study since July 2021. "We will take this opportunity to review the production of low-carbon steel materials and lead a new steel era with Hancock, who has secured resource development capabilities," POSCO's purchasing investment division head Lee Ju-tae said in a statement on March 29.
Hancock and Posco invested together in Roy Hill's iron ore mine in 2010. Roy Hill is involved in an iron ore mining project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Roy Hill mine is Australia's largest single mine, with an iron ore reserve of 2.3 billion tons.
In December 2021, POSCO International teamed up with Hancock Energy to acquire Australia's Senex Energy, which operates exploration permits covering more than 70,000 square kilometers in South Australia and Queensland.
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