Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie to get $420M in federal funding to transition to cleaner technology

Algoma Steel Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is getting up to $420 million in federal funding to help phase out coal-fired steelmaking processes, and retrofit its operations to clean technology.

Ontario manufacturer to phase out coal-fired processes for electric-arc furnace production

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the steelmaking process with officials at Algoma Steel Inc in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Monday, for a federal funding announcement on greener technology. (Yvon Theriault/Radio Canada)

Algoma Steel Inc., in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is getting up to $420 million in federal funding to help it phase out coal-fired steel-making processes.

During a news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding for the manufacturer to retrofit its operations to cleaner technology. 

This will allow Algoma Steel to purchase equipment to support its transition to electric-arc furnace production. It's expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than three million metric tonnes a year by 2030, Trudeau said, the equivalent of removing 900,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

"There's no doubt that climate change is the test of our generation," Trudeau said, adding that the funding will also create 500 jobs during the project's construction phase and through subcontracting. 

"Fighting climate change and growing the economy must go hand in hand."

Trudeau visited Sault Ste. Marie to announced up to $420 million in federal funding for Algoma Steel Inc. (Yvon Theriault/Radio Canada)

Michael McQuade, chief executive officer for Algoma Steel, said the 70 per cent carbon reduction from the new technology represents one of the lowest cost-per-tonne opportunities to achieve large-scale sustainable greenhouse gas reductions in the country.

"The world can't get to net zero without steel," he said.

"We are most grateful for the government of Canada's leadership on this front and their commitment in support of Algoma Steel's sustainability transformation."

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano applauded the investment, saying Algoma Steel "has been the economic lifeblood" of the community for more than a century. Provenzano said his own family "would not be here but for Algoma Steel." 

But Provenzano said a lot has changed over the last hundred years — and Algoma Steel "must change too." 

"In every way with this investment and this project, Algoma Steel will become a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable steel producer and community partner." 

According to Ottawa, the steel industry accounts for seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions from the energy industries — equal to global aviation, shipping, and chemicals emissions combined.