Feds provide up to $420M to make Algoma Steel 'greenest' steel producer

With election buzz in the air, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday the government will provide Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie up to $420 million to become the "greenest" flat-rolled steel producer in Canada.

Trudeau was in the Sault to make the announcement, along with François Phillippe Champagne, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The funding will help with Algoma Steel’s proposed transformation to electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking.

“With new state of the art equipment, Algoma Steel will transition to electric arc furnace production, giving them an even greater competitive edge over imported steel," Trudeau said. "That’s not just good for business -- that’s good for the environment.”

The money includes up to $200 million from the Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund through the Net Zero Accelerator "to rapidly expedite decarbonization projects and accelerate Canada's industrial transformation," the federal government said in a news release.

"Under an investment agreement in principle, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is committing a further $220 million towards the project. The funding will be provided over four years and will support thousands of very good direct and indirect jobs in Sault Ste. Marie and the Province of Ontario, and ensure green steel products are available for inclusion in automobiles, consumer products, and renewed infrastructure that utilizes Algoma steel."

The transformation could reduce Algoma's carbon emissions by as much as 70 per cent, making the project among the lowest-cost-per-tonne of GHG reduction in Canada.

"When combined with Ontario’s low-carbon power, Algoma Steel will be positioned as the greenest producer of flat-rolled steel in Canada, and among the greenest in North America," the release said.

Algoma has important history in the Sault

Christian Provenzano, mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, said Algoma is an integral part of the city's history.

“Many of us here in Sault Ste. Marie can trace our history, our families’ stories, directly or indirectly, to the operation of this steel plant," Provenzano said. "My family would not be here but if for Algoma Steel. It has been the economic life blood of this community for well over a century.”

Michael McQuade, CEO of Algoma Steel said the funds will help lead Canada to a "net-zero" economy.

"And (it's) so very important as we look to make our proposed transformation to EAF steelmaking a reality," McQuade said in the release.

"We were honoured to host Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Champagne today and we took to the opportunity to showcase our new No. 2 Ladle Metallurgy Furnace, another significant milestone in Algoma Steel’s transformation journey, which we commissioned this past February.

"The momentum is building on our path to our enhanced sustainability, with the promise of good secure jobs and a greener future for our community and our customers.”

 

- With files from Mike McDonald