29 May 2023

$182 million Port Kembla berth upgrade a boost for steelmaking and construction industry

| Jen White
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Port Kembla Harbour

Approval of a $182 million upgrade at Port Kembla will be a major boost for local steelmaking. Photo: NSW Ports.

A $182 million upgrade of three ageing berths at Port Kembla will ensure the future of steelmaking in the Illawarra.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said approval of the upgrade would help rebuild the domestic manufacturing industry in NSW and support more than 14,500 jobs.

“Our construction industry is the largest user of Port Kembla’s steel, using more than 70 per cent of the site’s total output. This approval provides more capacity to import coking coal for steelmaking and keep production flowing when local coal supplies are scaled back from 2028,” Mr Scully said.

“It’s an investment in jobs, training, and the Illawarra community, but importantly it’s a vote of confidence in NSW manufacturing and construction, providing the locally sourced steel they need to build the homes, hospitals, and transport infrastructure NSW needs,” he said.

BlueScope’s Australian chief executive Tania Archibald said the approval demonstrated the NSW Government’s commitment to secure the future of steelmaking in Australia.

“BlueScope operates five berths at Port Kembla to import a range of raw materials such as iron ore, coal, limestone, recycled steel scrap, and export steel products to customers, and the continued supply of these raw materials is critical to the operations of the steelworks,” Ms Archibald said.

“This infrastructure upgrade represents a significant investment to secure the asset for the long term whilst supporting future technology options for low-emissions steelmaking.”

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Port Kembla is NSW’s largest motor vehicle import hub and second largest coal export port. The NSW Government has approved Port Kembla as the site of the state’s next container terminal once Port Botany nears capacity.

Minister for Illawarra and the South Coast and Member for Keira Ryan Park said the revamp of three berths would mean more local steel used for major NSW Government projects, supporting thousands of local jobs.

“Illawarra steel contributes around $10.3 billion to the NSW economy each year, and this decision secures the continued direct employment of around 4500 people, together with another 10,000 people in the supply chain,” Mr Park said.

“Steel supply certainty is vital for the home building industry as we work to fast-track ways to supply new homes in the Illawarra, in Sydney and across the entire state,” he said.

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Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson said the berth upgrades were essential to enable BlueScope to handle coal brought in from Queensland after 2028.

“BlueScope uses a unique blend of coal to operate the blast furnaces used to make steel and needs this type of product to be shipped into Port Kembla,” Ms Watson said.

“The berths are more than 50 years old and need improvements to meet the expected increase in steel demand as NSW continues to grow.

“The project will create 100 immediate construction jobs as the steelworks continues to support hardworking local families as it has for generations.”

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