ArcelorMittal Dofasco getting $400M from Ottawa to cut greenhouse gas emissions

The federal government has announced $400 million for a project at ArcelorMittal Dofasco that the company says will help it cut carbon emissions by more than half.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, along with Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi, made the announcement at the Hamilton steelmaker on Friday.

The government said its investment is part of a $1.765-billion project to phase out coal-fired steelmaking and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to three million tonnes per year by 2030.

“This investment will ensure that Canada’s largest producer of flat-rolled steel adopts innovative technologies, continues to provide economic opportunities for Canadian workers and contributes meaningfully toward our climate targets,” Champagne stated in a release. 

“This investment will create good jobs in communities like Hamilton and lead to clean Canadian-made products for the world for decades to come.”

Ontario funding talks ongoing

The project depends on funding from the provincial government as well, according to Tony Valeri,  ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s vice-president corporate affairs. Those discussions are ongoing and have been “positive,” he said, adding he expects they’ll continue.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $420 million for a similar project at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

At the time, Trudeau teased a similar announcement would soon be made in Hamilton.

The funding announced in Hamilton comes from the Strategic Innovation Fund and its Net Zero Accelerator.

The government said the combined reductions in greenhouse gases from both projects will lower emissions by up to six million tonnes a year.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced the $400 investment at ArcelorMittal Dofasco Friday morning. (Canadian Innovation/Facebook)

That’s the equivalent of taking 1.8 million vehicles off the road, “almost the number of passenger vehicles in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver combined,” according to the release.

‘New era of steelmaking’

Aditya Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal, said the announcement marks the “beginning of a new era of steelmaking in Hamilton that will result in a 60 per cent drop in CO2 emissions within the next seven years.”

The goal is to have the project completed by 2028, and Mittal said he looks forward to the provincial government “stepping up.”

The company intends to use the funds to transition to a electric arc furnaces, which use scrap metal, electricity and natural gas to make steel, as opposed to blast furnaces using coal and iron ore.

In advance of the announcement, company spokesperson Marie Verdun called decarbonized steelmaking “central to ArcelorMittal’s long-term strategy.” She pointed out the company has already started efforts on this front in its European operations.

“We’re making a difference today,” said Champagne, adding the investment secures the steel industry and the steelmaker’s presence in Hamilton for generations to come.

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