Adelaide's $125 million green cement project a big step for Australia's carbon target

Adelaide's $125 million green cement project a big step for Australia's carbon target

A $125 million green cement project with the potential to deliver 1 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions reduction target by 2030 has been launched in South Australia.

The Hallett Group, the state's largest integrated supplier of building and construction materials, will begin locally manufacturing supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) with the aim of replacing more than half of the traditional carbon-emitting clinker-based cement used by the construction industry.

In doing so, it will also absorb three streams of industrial waste by-products in South Australia by converting them into low-carbon green cement products.  

Cement manufacturing is among the world’s biggest carbon producers, responsible for 8 per cent of global emissions, or three billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide a year. Australia consumes about 12 million tonnes of cement a year, with about half of this imported as traditional powdered cement, known as cement clinker.

The Hallett Group project, which will encompass operations in Port Adelaide, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Whyalla, was launched today at Port Adelaide where the company is building an import, export and storage facility.

The primary manufacturing operation will be based at Port Augusta, ultimately employing about 50 people when completed in 2024. It also will be powered by wind and solar energy.

The Port Augusta facility will process historic waste flyash extracted from the former Port Augusta power station, which closed in 2016. Hallett also has a granulated slag offtake agreement with the Nyrstar Port Pirie multi-metals smelter to consume the granulated slag it produces.

“We have been working towards this truly disruptive innovation project for the past seven years, and I am incredibly proud of the team for pulling this together despite all the challenges,” says Hallett CEO Kane Salisbury.

“I am delighted to be able to work closely with our supply partners in Port Augusta Operations, Nyrstar and Liberty GFG to create a win-win solution for all of us and the communities we operate in. I am really looking forward to engaging with future offtake partners and growing our team to deliver this amazing project.”

The Green Cement Transformation Project is expected to initially reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 300,000 tonnes a year, growing to a peak of about one million tonnes a year. Hallett says this represents about 1 per cent of the entire Australian 2030 carbon reduction target.

“The project will replace imports of SCMs and will future-proof Australia’s access to SCMs and green cement, which becomes increasingly important as Australia’s current locally produced sources of SCM-quality flyash diminishes in the coming years in line with the reduction of coal fired power generation,” says Salisbury.

“By building this sovereign manufacturing capability, Australia can become an international leader in the beneficiation and usage of SCMs in green cement. This will deliver significant and quantifiable sustainability, employment, and financial benefits to a broad range of local and national stakeholders and businesses.”

Hallett Group’s green cement project is being supported by a $20 million federal government grant and is expected to deliver 30 million tonnes of SCM to the Australian market over the next 20 years.

Hallett Group owner Mark Pickard describes his company’s entry into green cement as a direct challenge to the long-established cement market structure in Australia.

“In my 40 years in business I have never been more excited about our future and our ability to benefit the community,” he says.

Hallett plans to distribute the SCM and blended green cement products manufactured at Port Augusta across Australia with the potential for exports across the region.

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