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Annual Report 2004/05

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Port Kembla Steelworks slabmaking.

Australia - Port Kembla Steelworks

Performance. Strength

Port Kembla is among the world's best Steelworks, and in 2004/05, it once again demonstrated steelmaking strength. International and domestic pricing for hot rolled coil, steel slab and plate was very strong. These high steel prices, combined with near record production levels led to record earnings with the Hot Rolled Products segment reporting EBIT of $1.338 billion.

This fine performance is a credit to all those who have worked hard to improve the Steelworks over many years.


Located 80 kilometres south of Sydney, Port Kembla Steelworks is a fully integrated operation with all three major production phases - ironmaking, steelmaking and shaping - taking place on site. Port Kembla uses the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking process to produce steel slab, hot rolled coil and plate. It employs around 3,500 people, and has the advantages of a deepwater port and close proximity to coal mines.

Port Kembla is a highly cost-efficient steelmaking facility by world standards, and our capital investment program is aimed at maintaining this edge.

In 2004/05, Port Kembla maintained near-record raw steel production levels, with 5.123 million tonnes produced in 2004/05, compared with 5.145 million tonnes the previous year.

The Steelworks also set a record for hot rolled coil production, achieving 2.522 million tonnes, up from the record 2.501 million tonnes produced in 2003/04. This was due to improvements in all areas of mill operations, including the slab re-heat furnace throughput rate.

A marked improvement was achieved in finished plate production, with 374,000 tonnes produced, up from 349,000 tonnes last year, due to continuous improvements in plant reliability, and working extra production shifts to meet high domestic demand. Improvements to process stability also led to the best coke production levels since 2001, with 2.374 million tonnes produced during the year.

Export despatches for the year totalled 1.4 million tonnes, with Port Kembla Steelworks continuing to make a major contribution to Australia's balance of payments.

To ensure Port Kembla Steelworks' excellence, we continue to invest in expansion and maintenance. Our $100 million hot strip mill expansion is on schedule for completion in the first quarter of 2007 financial year. This will increase capacity by 400,000 tonnes to 2.8 million tonnes per year. Civil excavations are almost finished, and work is progressing well on the furnace structure.

During the year, we successfully replaced the No. 3 Basic Oxygen Steelmaking vessel, on time and under budget, after 21 years of operation and 33.6 million tonnes produced.

From left: Port Kembla Steelworks raw materials preparation; Matt Burke at work in our Plate Mill.

The Blast Furnace No. 5 reline study is progressing, with a final decision on the scope of work expected in 2005/06. The last furnace reline was in 1991. At this stage, we do not propose to significantly increase capacity.

In 2004/05, new iron ore supply contracts were entered into with four suppliers. These contracts provide for the Company's medium term iron ore needs.

Our premium steel brands, XLERPLATE® and XLERCOIL® have shown strong sales growth since their launch in 2003/04.