The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the workers at Arrium and having just met with POSCO in Korea, I am now confident of a strong outcome for the steelworks.
POSCO is one of the world’s largest steelmakers and has expressed a strong desire to acquire the Whyalla steelworks, which was placed in administration earlier this year.
I met with POSCO in South Korea and was joined by South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Scott McDine.
We stood together and made it clear that we are determined to work with any potential buyer for the steelworks to support the workers of Arrium and the Port Pirie community.
I’d like to thank Treasurer Koutsantonis and Mr McDine for their strong advocacy for the people of Whyalla and their commitment to working together.
POSCO briefed me on their future vision for Whyalla – where the plant not only continues current operations, but grows significantly.
They don’t want Arrium to just be competitive domestically. They want Arrium to be globally competitive.
POSCO has world-leading steel production technology, “FINEX”, which removes the need for a blast furnace. They would like to bring this technology to Arrium with a proposal to expand overall production at Whyalla by 50%.
This would significantly boost steel output and see the creation of a new 220 MW power plant, which would meet Arrium’s own power requirements and assist in providing electricity supply and security for the state.
The plant would use waste gas generated by the FINEX process, as is already happening at the POSCO operation in Pohang.
You couldn’t get a better outcome for South Australia – not just protecting the jobs but investing, expanding production and providing additional baseload grid security.
At the meeting the Australian Government reaffirmed that we are willing to make available support under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Export Finance Insurance Corporation. This has been outlined in a Letter of Support available to all potential buyers.
This builds on the Turnbull Government’s existing support of a $49.2 million loan to purchase equipment for the company’s iron ore operations.