ArcelorMittal Dofasco will demolish a coking plant from next year on its way to ending coal use by 2028

A Hamilton skyline without smokestacks is closer to reality.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco on Thursday shared details of the next steps in an unprecedented move to change the way the company makes steel.

The plant is the largest producer of flat-rolled steel in Canada and the largest industrial source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Ontario.

Switching to direct reduced iron electric arc furnace steelmaking is expected to reduce the plant’s carbon emissions by 60% and completely eliminate coal from the process.

This will mean the demolition of its disused coking plant No. 1 in 2023 and the start of construction of its new equipment. Construction is expected to be completed by 2026.

Trudeau said ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s $1.8 billion carbon reduction investment will set a global example. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

“Since the early 1950s, variations in chimneys and equipment have dominated the Hamilton skyline behind me, and now everything is about to change,” said Ron Bedard, president and CEO of ‘ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

The old technology, the blast furnace and the basic oxygen furnace, will operate at the same time as the new equipment and will be reduced in two years.

The $1.8 billion federal investment, announced last summer, is expected to help reduce the plant’s carbon footprint by three million tonnes, or 60%.

Bianca Caramento, acting executive director of the Center for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College, previously told CBC that’s a nearly 30% reduction in Hamilton’s overall emissions.

Green steel will make Hamilton a global leader: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was at the Hamilton plant on Thursday, said the investment positions the city and the country as a leader in green steel.

It also gives Canada a “competitive advantage”.

« It’s not happening in Europe, it’s certainly not happening in China…but this big step is being taken here, » he told reporters.

arcelormittal dofasco
ArcelorMittal Dofasco is the largest producer of flat-rolled steel in Canada and the largest industrial source of CO2 emissions in Ontario. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said it was a generational opportunity and would help keep jobs in the industry.

The Trudeau government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

It is unclear whether new technologies will lead to job losses

While the construction of the new technology will lead to the creation of 2,500 new jobs, it is not known if or how many steelworkers could lose their jobs.

Spokeswoman Marie Verdun said there shouldn’t be many job losses based on the 900 people who are expected to retire by 2028.

Tammy Oommen, the project’s associate program manager, said it would take 160,000 hours of training for the workforce to learn the new technology.

“There will be change and that is where we will have to look at how to help our people to be ready for the new context,” she said.


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