Construction of Africa’s First Green Ironworks Started

by | 7. Nov 2023 - 14:59 | Politics

Start of the project in Namibia with German support—green hydrogen to make steel production more climate-friendly.

The first plant for sustainably produced iron in Africa and one of the largest such production facilities in the world, is being built in Namibia with German support. The foundation stone was laid on Monday in Arandis in the densely populated coastal region of Erongo. Economy Minister Robert Habeck had previously handed over the funding decision of around 13 million euros last December.

The HyIron/Oshivela project is an alliance of German and Namibian companies to use green hydrogen to reduce iron ore to sponge iron in a climate-neutral way. This preliminary product for a green steel industry can then be shipped to Germany and other countries. So far, fossil fuels have been used in steel production. Production is scheduled to start at the end of 2024, and 15,000 tons of sponge iron will be produced annually in the first phase.

With its potential for renewable energies, which are necessary to produce green hydrogen, Namibia offers ideal conditions for the project, writes the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. Germany already has a hydrogen partnership with Namibia. The Federal Republic depends on imports of sustainable energy sources, as domestic production capacities are insufficient.

Namibia also has large deposits of iron ore. The first export of 52,000 tons of this raw material happened in 2021. However, the African country plans to ban the export of unprocessed critical minerals such as rare earths in the future. In doing so, Namibia wants to benefit from the increasing global demand for raw materials such as rare earths and promote domestic value creation by attracting foreign investments in downstream processing facilities.

Photo: iStock/photllurg

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