Nyrstar to build new electrolysis plant in Australia

16 Jun 2022

Nyrstar Australia is building an electrolysis plant at its Zinc Works operation in Hobart, Tasmania. The A$400 million project has received A$70 million in total funding from the federal and Tasmanian governments.

The new plant will secure the future of 500 direct jobs in Tasmania. It will also support around 1,600 direct jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs across Nyrstar’s Australian operations.

New plant to recover greater quantities of minerals

Nyrstar is a global multi-metals manufacturing business. It is majority owned by Trafigura, one of the world’s largest physical commodities trading groups.

The Nyrstar Hobart smelter is one of the world’s largest zinc smelters in terms of production volume. The smelter focuses on high-value added products for export primarily to Asia.

The new electrolysis plant will incorporate advanced technology that will improve the performance of the Zinc Works facility. It will allow Nyrstar to recover greater quantities of minerals and metals at its Port Pirie facility in South Australia.

‘Tasmania’s renewable energy means that investment in our Hobart operations is also an investment in lower carbon zinc production,’ says Dale Webb, Nyrstar’s Vice-President Australian Operations. ‘In a world seeking to decarbonise, that creates a distinct advantage for Australian zinc in an increasingly competitive international market.’

It will take around 28 months to build the plant. The project will employ 200 people at the peak of construction.

Green hydrogen plant in South Australia

Nyrstar is also planning to build a commercial-scale green hydrogen manufacturing facility in Port Pirie, South Australia. The Front End Engineering Design study for the Port Pirie Green Hydrogen Project is jointly funded by Trafigura and the South Australian State Government.

If approved, the A$750 million project will be developed in a phased manner. It will initially produce 20 tonnes per day (tpd) of green hydrogen for export in the form of green ammonia. The full-scale plant will produce 100tpd of green hydrogen at full capacity from a 440MW electrolyser.

The project is planned to be integrated into Nyrstar Australia’s metals recovery smelter at Port Pirie. The smelter is one of the world’s largest multi-metal smelters, producing lead, silver and by-products such as sulphuric acid.

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