Australia’s largest steelmaker BlueScope has signaled its intention to reinvest record profits into capital works including extensive carbon abatement programs.
- BlueScope records a record $2.8 billion full-year profit
- The company intends to push ahead with a $1 billion reline of its No.6 blast furnace in the Illawarra
- Chief executive Mark Vassella says the strong profit will enable the company to continue to invest in new technologies such as hydrogen electrolysers
BlueScope posted today a full-year profit after tax of $2.8 billion for last financial year — a 135 per cent increase on 2020-21 and the company’s best-ever profit result.
Managing director and chief executive Mark Vassella said the result reflected strong demand in Australia and the United States for building and construction products.
“We have seen building and construction continue to be strong, residential housing, industrial commercial have been strong,” Mr Vassella said.
“Some of the stimulus work that was put in as we went into the pandemic, the home builder programs for example, we have been the beneficiaries of that.”
Mr Vassella said the result would enable the company to continue to invest $1 billion in its Port Kembla blast furnace reline project to modernize its raw steelmaking technology.
The outlay will cover investment in decarbonisation via new technologies such as hydrogen electrolysers and work with miner Rio Tinto to produce new types of iron.
“We have things we can do every day to continue to improve our energy use, continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions but we’re also investing in some of the longer-term breakthrough technologies that aren’t yet technically or commercially viable,” he said.
Will work with government on emissions
As one of Australia’s top 20 carbon emitters, BlueScope would be impacted by a foreshadowed tightening of the federal government’s safeguard mechanism, which is a way to rein in national emissions and meet legislated targets.
“We are well prepared to deal with the safeguard mechanisms,” Mr Vassella said.
“We have got a very strong relationship with the Labor government given where we are in the Illawarra, I am encouraged by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) report, the messages that are coming from the new federal government.”
Mr Vassella said the company’s focus would be on emission reductions rather than offsets in order to meet targets.
“I am not saying we would never use offsets, but our primary focus is around direct abatement,” he said.
“We’re not the sort of organization that is going to be shopping around and looking for cheap or low-quality offsets.
“Our focus is more around how do we directly abate and reduce the amount of carbon that we produce.”