The NSW Government is funding the refurbishment of BlueScope’s plate mill at Port Kembla.

The state says the funding will bolster local steel production, stimulate the economy, and create new employment opportunities.

The planned upgrade of the 60-year-old plate mill should help it boost production capabilities to meet the growing demands in construction, renewable energy, and defence sectors.

Key components of the project include the replacement of two existing furnaces with modern, energy-efficient alternatives, as well as infrastructure upgrades and the modernisation of processing equipment. 

These enhancements are intended to increase production capacity from 430,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes annually, while also reducing fuel consumption and environmental impacts.

“Port Kembla Steelworks is an important part of Wollongong with a history of steelmaking of nearly 100 years,” said Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and Member for Wollongong Paul Scully.

“This major project represents the most comprehensive upgrade of the plate mill since it was built in 1963. The new furnace represents the best available technology which will keep steel plate production local and continue to provide enormous economic benefit to the Illawarra for the future.”

In addition to the refurbishment, the NSW Government is establishing a ‘whole of government’ Working Group chaired by Scully. 

The group will coordinate decisions for the industrial land transformation project, aiming to reactivate industrial land equivalent to the size of Sydney CBD from Circular Quay to Central Station, potentially providing employment land for up to 30,000 people.

The approval, classified as a State Significant Development, should also contribute to the state’s Net Zero target by 2050. The state says the project will create 95 full-time construction jobs at peak periods and an additional 18 operational jobs.

Work on the refurbishment is slated to commence in July 2024, with an expected completion time of three years. 

More information is available on the NSW Planning Portal.