Steelworks Skyline and images

Sinter Machine

The Blast Furnace process cannot use fine raw materials (small particles) because gasses need to circulate through the furnace, so these are baked together into a hard, porous (has holes through it so gas can pass through) rock called sinter – which is then placed into the furnace.

What you’re likely to see

The construction of a waste gas cleaning plant attached to the Sinter Machine means that there are negligible visible and harmful emissions.



The ironmaking process requires a source of carbon, both as a fuel and the element needed in the chemical reaction to convert iron ore into iron. Coal is turned into Coke in a collection of ovens (called batteries) to produce a material that is harder and made mostly of carbon.

What you’re likely to see

Regular large plumes of steam (water vapour) are visible from the Cokemaking plant as red-hot coke is ‘quenched’ in water to cool it down rapidly. These plumes will last for approximately 3 minutes. Occasionally a black plume may be seen when a heating wall of one oven is changed over to another. This will occur for a short duration only.


Number 5 Blast Furnace

The Blast Furnace converts raw materials (such as sinter, iron ore, coke etc) into liquid iron. It is a large bottle-shaped vessel operating continuously and under pressure. Tapholes are opened at regular intervals around the base of the furnace to drain the liquid product into transport vessels.

What you’re likely to see

On rare occasions, you may see a large red cloud – typically this happens when a taphole runs dry and/or material splashes out from the taphole and iron oxide leaks out onto the ground.

We need to perform regular maintenance on the furnace also, and sometimes need to run it “down” (a lot slower), before building it back up again.

Air emissions from the pressure bleeders at the top of the furnace are an unavoidable event immediately prior to the completion of a blast furnace rundown. The visible plume is predominately steam from the raw gas cooling at the furnace top. The steam plume will carry some dust (e.g. coke fines).

Air emissions may also occur during start-up, when casting hot metal onto the ground in pits and during the subsequent handling of hot materials. This process is necessary until the furnace is settled and hot metal is at the required temperature and chemistry to be processed into steel. Emissions are typically dust (e.g. iron oxide and /or graphite flakes, called “kish”).

Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong

Alliance and Recycling Area

A large area to the west of the steelworks, bounded by Masters, Springhill, Five Islands Roads and the M1 Motorway is where by-product material is processed to reclaim metal or to convert it into useful products. An example is the by-product called slag from both iron and steelmaking is used for a variety of applications such as concrete and cement manufacture.

What you’re likely to see

On rare occasions, there is some potential for windblown emissions and emissions from hot metal dumping such as a by-product known as “kish” (iron-carbide flakes).

Farmborough Heights

Steelmaking Plant

Liquid iron is converted into steel at our Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant. In its simplest form, steel is an alloy of iron with the right amount of carbon. There are a number of other key elements involved in the mixture, such as aluminium and manganese, and these elements are controlled in a number of processes inside the building. The liquid steel is also cast into a solid shape, called a slab in our continuous casting machines, also located within the plant.

What you’re likely to see?

By-product gases are flared to the atmosphere as part of the BOS process, and a large flame will be visible from this building at regular intervals. On rare occasions, you may see a red cloud (iron oxide) as a result of metal overflowing the steelmaking vessel and “slopping” onto the ground. Steam plumes are also visible as part of the water-cooling system used to cool-down the liquid metal as it solidifies.

Lake Heights
Outer Harbour