Water is critical to quench or cool products and machinery.

Freshwater Chart

Reducing Water Consumption

BlueScope Steel is very conscious of its consumption of freshwater. For many of the communities in which we operate, especially in Australia, water shortages are significant ongoing issues.

The manufacture of iron and steel involves intense heat in many parts of the process. Water is critical to quench or cool products and machinery. Water is also required for maintenance activities and for environmental purposes like suppressing dust within the plant.

In affected parts of the Company a range of successful water savings initiatives have been undertaken over a number of years to reduce water consumption. A key performance indicator used is fresh water intensity. This indicator outlines the amount of fresh water from community supplies used per tonne of steel manufactured.

A significant reduction in intensity from 3.7 kilolitres per tonne in financial year (FY) 2003, to 2.1 kilolitres per tonne in FY2008 was achieved. However, with lower steel production rates this year, water intensity has increased. It is expected that water intensity will return to previous lower levels when production returns to rated capacity.

At our largest steelmaking facility, Port Kembla Steelworks in New South Wales, Australia, the great majority of water used is seawater, which displaces the need to use precious fresh water for much of the site’s cooling duties. During FY2007, an industry-leading project, commissioned in partnership with Sydney Water, recycles wastewater from across the Illawarra region and treats it for re-use at the Steelworks. The introduction of recycled water reduced the site's fresh water consumption and has saved more than 16 billion litres of fresh water to date.

A similar water-recycling project is being progressed at our Western Port facility in Victoria, Australia. The project, involving a partnership between BlueScope Steel, South East Water and the Victorian Government, includes a significant upgrade to the Somers Treatment Plant. It is expected to cut fresh water consumption at the Western Port site by up to 65 per cent and reduce wastewater discharged from the site by up to 75 per cent.

BlueScope Water

In addition to BlueScope Steel’s own water savings, our BlueScope Water business serves the growing Australian and international markets for water conservation products. This business has achieved a leading position as a supplier of premium rainwater harvesting solutions for residential, commercial and rural use, as well as culvert and irrigation infrastructure products.

BlueScope Water has manufacturing and retail operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and with Pioneer Water Tanks in Perth.

The Nature Conservancy

BlueScope Steel is a member of The Nature Conservancy, a leading international conservation organisation working to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

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