As part of the move, the mining firm has given a further $7m (A$10m) in funding for the university’s Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research (CIMR).
The expanded research programme will focus on low carbon iron and steelmaking using BHP’s iron ore and metallurgical coal.
The research will also focus on the utilisation of hydrogen used in conventional blast furnace ironmaking, and ‘emerging alternative low-carbon ironmaking technologies’.
BHP iron ore sales and marketing vice-president Dr Rod Dukino said that greenhouse gas emissions from steelmaking account for nearly 7%-10% of global estimated total emissions.
Dukino added: “The expanded research programme with the University of Newcastle complements BHP’s existing partnerships with our key steelmaking customers in China, Japan and South Korea.
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“We are pursuing the long-term goal of net-zero Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Recognising the particular challenge of a net-zero pathway for this hard-to-abate sector, we are continuing to partner with customers and others in the steel value chain to seek to accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral steelmaking.”
Supported by funding from BHP’s $400m Climate Investment Program, the five-year partnership is also expected to help train the next generation of PhD researchers and engineers.
The CIMR was created at Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) to support ironmaking research using BHP’s iron ore and metallurgical coal in the conventional steelmaking process.
University of Newcastle vice-chancellor Alex Zelinsky said: “Through our strategic plan, which was shaped by our students, staff and our communities, we are committed to supporting the innovation required to bring the world closer to a sustainable future with solutions for the use of natural resources and the development of new energy technologies.
“This continued partnership with BHP is a clear example of the University’s commitment to driving technological advancement through industry-engaged research, and we are honoured to continue with BHP’s legacy of innovation at our dedicated NIER precinct.”