After relining one of two blast furnaces and enlarging its sinter plant in 2009, BlueScope radically restructured its Port Kembla steelworks operation in 2011, shutting a blast furnace and halving its total production. This drastic move in response to unprecedented raw material prices relative to achievable steel prices was like that of many integrated steelmakers worldwide facing similar challenges. The 2011 restructure also saw major changes in the amount and type of iron ores and ferrous burdens purchased, and a fundamental reappraising of ‘value’ in iron ores. This paper outlines the changes to raw materials purchases from 2011 to 2017, how BlueScope has responded to the changes in pricing and raw materials quality, the effect on the sintering and blast furnace processes at Port Kembla resulting from higher gangue content, some of the broad technical and economic challenges faced by steelmakers confronted with lower quality iron ores and how BlueScope is meeting those challenges.
Di Giorgio, N, Bennett, A, Osborne, B and Chew, S, 2017. Recent Port Kembla experience with iron ore use – sintering and blast furnace, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 25–30 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).