Nyrstar conditionally approved the $350 million transformation of a South Australian smelter at Port Pirie, 220-kilometres north of Adelaide.Port Pirie smelter history in pictures: MEGAGALLERY
A $350 million transformation projectto upgrade a lead smelter at Port Pirie, 220-kilometres north of Adelaide, has been conditionally approved subject to finalisation of state government agreements.
Nyrstar, who operates the smelter,held a meeting in Belgiumon Wednesday and released their first quarter 2014 interim management statement.
“During Q1 2014 Nyrstar completed its final feasibility study for the proposed redevelopment of the Port Pirie smelter into an advanced metals recovery and refining facility,” the statement said.
“Subject to finalisation of all agreements relating to the funding and support package, the Nyrstar board has approved the redevelopment.”
Nyrstar was informed by the South Australian government that final cabinet approval hadbeen obtained to provide contingent support for the full amount of the third party funding.
“Nyrstar and the South Australian government are in advanced stages of finalising the agreements providing for this critical element of the proposed redevelopment,” the statement said.
“The South Australian government has advised Nyrstar that these documents will be executed by no later than 16 May, 2014, at which time the final investment decision will be announced by Nyrstar and the South Australian government.”
The state government was quick to respond to the outcome, with TreasurerTom Koutsantonis applaudingthe decision by the Nyrstar board as an importantstep toward a major redevelopment of the 125-year-old smelter facility at Port Pirie.
“Nyrstar has been able to make this important decision for the healthy future of Port Piriebecause of the certainty provided by the three-party agreement reached in December 2012,” he said.
“Since reaching that agreement the state government has been able to provide Nyrstar withthe regulatory certainty it required to make this crucial investment decision.
“The state government last year provided major development approval for the transformationproject after a thorough environmental assessment of the proposal.The continued commitment of the state government to the financing package was critical insecuring Nyrstar Board approval for this redevelopment.
“I look forward to continue working with Nyrstar toward an agreement between the companyand the state government for a financial deal that secures future production at Port Pirie.”
The future of the Nyrstar smelter was a key negotiating point for Port Pirie-basedindependentMP,Geoff Brock, when he was tasked with the decision to support a party to form minority government after a hung parliament at the South Australian state election in March.
Port Pirie community members hearing of the news on Wednesdaycould not hide the smiles on their faces.
“This is wonderful,” local Rotary Club president Barb Camporeale said.
“It’s just great news,” Port Pirie Regional Council’s events coordinator Rhys Millington said.
“It’s good for Port Pirie,” bottle shop worker and Lions Football Club member Damien Foster said.
Business owner Emanuel Protopapas also said the news was “great” and he doesn’t care where the money is coming from.
“Whoever funds it, it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“Port Pirie has been bleeding for so long.
“I ran into Member for Frome Geoff Brock the other day and I said I don’t care who he is supporting, as long as the electorate of Frome gets something.”
FederalMember for Grey welcomed the Nyrstar announcement, describing it as “great news” for Port Pirie and the state.
But he did not comment on the Federal Government’s Export and Finance Insurance Corporation no longer being required.
He said “the deal has changed” since Premier Jay Weatherill “announced” he would underwrite the loan in his agreement with Member for Frome Geoff Brock.
“That has some (financial) implications for South Australia,” he said.
“But in terms of the local outcome, however the deal is put together, it is a positive outcome.”
Port Pirie Regional Council Mayor Brenton Vanstone welcomed the announcement and said it was “very positive news”.
“This is the fourth in a series of definitive and positive steps,” he said.
“The first being government underwriting the loan, the second the lead and air concentrations bill 2013, the third was the development approval and the fourth was this statement saying the board has approved the project,”he said.
Mr Vanstone said all they are waiting on now is investment approval.
“The technology transformation of the Nyrstar Port Pirie smelter will mean the economic consolidation of the city of Port Pirie,” he said.
Port Pirie Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mark Hanlonsaid theeconomy will gain a “fantastic” boost from the Nyrstar and state government announcements about the smelter transformation project.
After learning of the latest developments, he said: “It is all very positive news, but I still look forward to the first stone being turned at the smelter at the start of the transformation.”
He said the decisionwould be ”absolutely fantastic” for the city’s economy, adding that it would bring 400 workers into the town to build the project.
“It will give the confidence that this community needs to move forward again without negativity,” he said.
Source: Port Pirie Recorder