$750m SA Port Pirie hydrogen project accelerated towards development

Monica Gameng   |   December 12, 2021
Nyrstar Port Pirie facility (cr: EPA South Australia)

The South Australian Government, Trafigura Group Pty Ltd and Nyrstar are joining hands to develop a commercial scale green hydrogen manufacturing facility at Port Pirie. 

Trafigura is one of the world’s largest physical commodity trading companies and Nyrstar is a global multi-metals manufacturing business. 

As part of this partnership, the State Government and Trafigura are committing $2.5 million each for Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the $750 million Port Pirie Green Hydrogen Project, with works to commence immediately. 

The Final Investment Decision (FID) for the project is set to be announced by the end of next year and construction to begin in 2023 once the project has been given the green light. 

“Since Trafigura became the majority owner of Nyrstar, we’ve been working together on how they could invest further in South Australia, and we are thrilled to unveil this world class project. 

“This $750 million project is part of the ongoing transformation of South Australia into a producer of green hydrogen of global significance based on our outstanding renewable energy resources. 

“As the largest metal and second largest oil trader in the world, Trafigura is the class of company we want investing here. It shows that our Hydrogen Action Plan is working to attract investment,” Premier Steven Marshall said. 

The project is going to be developed in stages. The first stage will deliver an 85MW electrolyser and will initially produce 20tpd (tonnes per day) of green hydrogen to be exported in the form of green ammonia, while the oxygen produced through the electrolyser will supply about 20 per cent of the needs of the Port Pirie smelter. 

At full capacity, the manufacturing plant is anticipated to produce 100tpd of green hydrogen for export from a 440MW electrolyser and the oxygen from the production of hydrogen will fully supply the Nyrstar Port Pirie smelter, supporting both domestic and global markets. 

“With both State and Federal Government support, the Port Pirie Green Hydrogen Project has the potential to be a catalyst for new jobs and economic growth in the region, creating opportunities for existing local businesses to become part of the supply chain, attracting new talent, and encouraging new companies and industries to establish a local presence. 

“We are expecting significant early interest in becoming a part of the green hydrogen precinct with early potential for the region’s heavy vehicle transport industry to investigate hydrogen refuelling options. In time, it is also expected that Trafigura will be working with mining and other energy-intensive industries across the State to explore opportunities the precinct creates for them to decarbonise through the use of green hydrogen,” Trafigura General Manager – Australia Tim Rogers said. 

This $750 million project is set to be integrated into Nyrstar’s metals recovery smelter at Port Pirie and will be using an existing infrastructure to help fast track the production of green hydrogen. The facility will become the foundation of a new green hydrogen precinct in Port Pirie, which will provide significant benefits to local businesses as well as “support the decarbonisation of transport and industry”. 

“As a leading multi-metals manufacturer, producing and recycling vital metals required for the energy transition, Nyrstar Australia needs to remain competitive on the global stage, on cost and in terms of carbon intensity. The Port Pirie Green Hydrogen Project will meet this challenge head on by delivering renewable energy and oxygen to prove that we can decarbonise a heavy industrial facility and at the same time ensure more efficient and cost-effective production of low carbon metals for the world. This will create a positive differentiator of our products with international customers, and help underpin a stronger, more secure, more sustainable future for Nyrstar Australia,” Nyrstar Vice President Australian Operations Dale Webb said. 

The $2.5 million investment from the South Australian Government to accelerate FEED for the project is part of the Jobs and Economic Growth Fund and this commitment will help establish South Australia as a global leader in the large-scale production of green hydrogen. 

“I’m committed to bring jobs to our region, and this project is a great opportunity for the people of Port Pirie and the Upper Spencer Gulf. 

“The South Australian Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan will turn our world-class wind and sun resources into clean fuel to run shipping and trucking fleets, and power industry here and abroad. 

“Our vision is a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in the Spencer Gulf – incorporating Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla and our world-class copper resources, to support jobs for generations to come,” Minister for Energy and Mining Dan Van Holst Pellekaan said. 

Source: Premier of South Australia – Media Releases; Trafigura Group - Press Releases; Renew Economy; Offshore Energy; ABC News 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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