Port Kembla blast furnace upgrade deemed critical

A $700 million proposal to upgrade a blast furnace at Port Kembla Steelworks has been declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI), given its importance to the state economy and its potential to create 1,000 new jobs in the Illawarra.

The project involves fixing and upgrading a blast furnace to ensure it’s ready for operation when the existing furnace is decommissioned in 2026.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said, if approved, the Bluescope Steel project would ensure continued employment for thousands of people and maintain a secure supply chain for the construction industry.

“The continued operation of the Port Kembla Steelworks is critical for economic success and regional jobs,” Mr Stokes said.

“More than 60 per cent of the 3 million tonnes of steel produced there each year is for the Australian market, delivering significant road, rail and industrial projects.

“It is the largest manufacturing facility in Australia and contributes $10.3 billion to the NSW economy each year – generating one per cent of our Gross State Product.

“This proposed upgrade to the smelter would provide continued employment for the existing 4,500 workers and contractors, while creating an additional 1,000 new construction jobs, bringing security and certainty to the Illawarra community.”

Bluescope Steel will now prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for community feedback and detailed assessment.

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