AMSA confirms that it is converting a blast furnace to an electric arc furnace

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has confirmed that the company will be converting one of its three blast furnaces into an electric arc furnace (EAF) within the next four years.

AMSA says it is still committed to its decarbonisation roadmap that will see it become net-zero producer of carbon by 2050. As part of this plan, the steel maker wants to reduce its carbon intensity by 25% by 2030, from a 2018 baseline of 2.90 tons of CO2 ton of crude steel to 2.16 CO2 of crude steel according to its 2023 Decarbonisation Roadmap.

“The main focus for ArcelorMittal South Africa at the moment is to achieve the 25% reduction by 2030. There is a lot that needs to develop beyond 2030 in terms of technology to achieve net zero by 2050,” said a company spokesperson.

One of its plans to achieve its decarbonisation goals is to replace one of its two blast furnaces at Vanderbijlpark, named C and D. These have annual production capacities of 1.3 million tons and 1.9 million tons respectively of molten iron, and account for a significant amount of carbon emissions.

The plan is to replace C with an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) that uses natural gas and make changes to D and have it returned to service as a “low-carbon enabled furnace.”

The company currently has two blast furnaces in operation at its Vanderbijlpark facility. However, since one of these is due for a refurbishment and relining in 2029, the decision has been made to take the opportunity to rather convert it to an EAF, as the latter produces fewer emissions.

The company says blast furnaces were by far the single biggest cause of AMSA’s carbon emissions, owing to the need to use coking coal. Between the EAF and the solar PV plant, AMSA said the company was aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 25% by 2030.