Namibia began construction on Monday of Africa's first decarbonised iron plant, to be powered exclusively by green hydrogen, the country's investment promotion body said.
Steelmaking is one of the most polluting industries in the world and the industry is seeking to shift away from coal-fired plants and towards the use of decarbonised iron.
The Oshivela project in western Namibia is backed by the German federal government, which has injected €13 million (R256bn), and would use renewable energy to generate 15000 tons of iron per year with no carbon emissions, the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) said in a statement.
Namibia last year became the first African country to sign an agreement with the European Union to supply the bloc with green hydrogen and minerals needed for clean energy technology.
Production at the plant is set to begin in the final quarter of 2024, with plans eventually to ramp up production to 1 million metric tons of green iron a year.
The iron produced at the plant could also be used as a preliminary product in steel production in Germany to manufacture green steel for the production of wind turbines or vehicles, said Rainer Baake, Special Envoy for German-Namibian Climate and Energy Cooperation.
The project's developers, a consortium of German and Namibian companies, said the plant will use HyIron technology, which processes iron ore in a rotary kiln with the help of green hydrogen.