PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australia, Canada and Brazil all stood to benefit from the emergence of a green steel market, researcher Fitch Solutions said.
Speaking at the Hydrogen in Mining virtual conference, Fitch Solutions head of commodities analysis Aurelia Britsch said on Wednesday that not only would low carbon steel help reduce the Scope 3 emissions from mining companies, but it would also change some long-lasting trends in the iron-ore sector.
“Green steel is now a priority for many, many steelmakers in developed markets, especially in Europe. We believe the upcoming boom of low carbon steel in the coming decades could really lead to some shifts of the iron-ore/steel supply chain.
“Firstly, it could lead to a revival of the steel sector in developed markets, due to strong demand from downstream manufacturers for low carbon steel amid increasingly strict regulations, carbon price mechanisms and carbon border taxes in some instances, and this could lead to some shifts in pure iron-ore trade flows.
“The second impact on the supply chain is the fact that the rise of green steel will require higher quality iron feedstock, including hydrogen-derived direct reduced iron-ore. And this could present an opportunity for iron-ore majors with access to green hydrogen hubs, and lower cost hydrogen to increase iron-ore beneficiation and to produce green iron. This would mean you are restoring part of the steel production process,” Britsch said.
She noted that Canada, Australia, and to an extent Brazil, could benefit from these trends.
Furthermore, Britsch noted that the adoption of hydrogen for steel production could lead to coking coal demand destruction on a multi-decade horizon.
Meanwhile, Britsch said that the early adoption of green hydrogen in the mining sector would likely take place in countries which boasted both a large mining sector and the presence of larger major mining companies.
“We believe green hydrogen adoption in the mining sector has the most upside opportunities in China, the US, Australia and Canada, and to some extent, Chile, Russia and Poland.
“Meanwhile, there are plenty of large mining markets, which lag in our green hydrogen production suitability index, which is a sign that potential adoption of hydrogen in mining could be constrained by plenty of challenges, including lower access to renewables capacity, lower hydrogen production capacities, lower expertise, et cetera. And these countries include South Africa, Peru, Turkey, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.
“And it doesn't mean that there will be no hydrogen technology adoption in this countries, as shown by Anglo American investment to use fuel cell trucks in South Africa, but it shows clear challenges along the way,” she said.