Owing to Australia’s rich iron deposits, the country’s steel industry is one of the strongest and most successful in the world. However, you might be surprised to find out that this hasn’t always been the case. Like in many countries, Australia’s steel industry encountered many challenges before it became what it is today. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and explore the history of our country’s steel fabrication and manufacturing industry.
It all began in 1840 when many great iron deposits were found in Iron Knob. At the time, no one knew how to make the most of these discovered iron ores because of the lack of expertise and available facilities. However, this changed some 60 years later as the Industrial Revolution called for a greater demand for steel and brought more advanced knowledge into the steel manufacturing process. The opening of the country’s first blast furnace in 1901 ushered in the beginning of steel manufacturing in Australia as the demand for steel was driven by the construction of railways in different parts of the country. Local industries were also demanding more steel products and machinery. Because of surging demand, more steel mills opened in Australia, starting with one in Newcastle in 1915, which used coal sourced locally and iron ore from South Australia.
Demand For Steel Grows
Demand for steel continued to surge from the 1960s to the 1980s. With World War II over, nations, including Australia, were focused on rebuilding. This caused the demand for steel production to rise from 4.6 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes in less than two decades. However, as Australia continued to advance its steel manufacturing industry, so were other countries. Before long, Australia found itself facing stiff competition overseas, particularly from China and Southeast Asia.
This mounting pressure from competitors convinced Australian industry leaders to rethink their strategy. In the last few years, they have introduced new, more productive technologies and organisational procedures to make the local steel industry more efficient and sustainable.
Australia’s Steel Industry Today
Thanks to the willingness of local industry leaders to adapt, Australia’s steel industry has continued to shine amid challenges and growing competition. These days, most of the steel we use is manufactured overseas and then sent here to be processed and fabricated by local companies. Today’s steel manufacturing process is also more environment-friendly than its predecessors. Indeed, the local steel industry is strong, and many experts believe that it will continue in the foreseeable future.