SSS 2020: GFG eyes consolidation, green steel

GFG Alliance, the parent of Liberty Steel Group, believes consolidation and “green” steel technology are key to the evolution of the steel industry, the company’s executive chairman and chief executive officer said.

“Just a few days ago, I announced an indicative offer for Thyssenkrupp Steel,” Sanjeev Gupta said during a keynote presentation at Fastmarkets’ Steel Success Strategies Online on Tuesday October 27.

“I believe our businesses are highly complementary; we closely align in assets and products, and we share the same values and beliefs about the future of steel,” Gupta continued.

Liberty Steel earlier this month made a non-binding offer to acquire the steel business of Thyssenkrupp. The German industrial group had previously announced a major strategy realignment after the failure of a joint venture with Tata Steel and confirmed its intention to sell its loss-making steel unit.

Also this month, Liberty Steel UK announced it has started producing green rebar at its Rotherham mill, targeting domestic infrastructure projects.

“Together with Thyssenkrupp, we can accelerate the transition to green steel,” Gupta said.

GFG Alliance last October announced plans to streamline its steel business into a single entity, Liberty Steel Group, and to adopt a carbon-neutral business strategy. At the time, GFG said other strategy goals included using renewable sources of energy and exploration of new environmentally friendly technology, such as hydrogen generated from renewable power projects to produce steel.

Gupta also shared details on the company’s plans to build a solar farm near its steel facility in Australia.

“In Australia, where there is plenty of iron ore and perfect conditions for wind and solar [energy]... we will use renewable energy to produce hydrogen from water,” Gupta said during the keynote. “Hydrogen can replace coal in the steelmaking process.”

The 280-megawatt Cultana Solar Farm – one of the largest in Australia – will be located near the company’s Whyalla steelworks plant, he said, adding that the company next plans to build a 3,000-megawatt solar farm.

“The goal is to produce steel without carbon emissions – what we call green steel – and the key is technology. Not just one technology, green steel will differ around the world,” Gupta said. “We are moving toward a carbon-neutral world... The steel industry cannot carry on doing what it has done for centuries.”

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