Governments throw Port Pirie $350 million lifeline
The Federal and South Australian Governments have reached an in-principle agreement with Nyrstar to fund the transformation of the Port Pirie smelter into an advanced poly-metallic processing and recovery facility.
Premier Jay Wetherill said the agreement was reached following months of intense negotiations, and that the package was crucial for the future of Port Pirie.
“Local member Geoff Brock has consistently told me that Port Pirie would not survive without the smelter,” Mr Weatherill said.
“But this agreement will now see Nyrstar undertake a feasibility study to transform the environmentally outdated 120-year-old smelter into a new, cleaner metal processing and recovery centre.”
Under the agreement:
- Nyrstar will contribute $100 million from its own balance sheet toward the transformation and a further $100 million will be funded by the forward sale of some of the incremental metal units to be produced at Port Pirie as a consequence of the transformation
- A structured equity instrument will facilitate third-party investment of $150 million, with the Commonwealth, through the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, providing contingent support through a guarantee
- The State Government will provide contingent support for the investment in relation to Environmental, Health and Safety liabilities and regulatory certainty via legislation that will prevent key terms of Nyrstar’s licence with respect to lead emissions being amended without Ministerial consent.
“The State Government is contributing $5m to begin the immediate clean up of environmental issues, mainly the lead dust that is emitted from the current smelter,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Nyrstar is also contributing $3m per year for up to 10 years to implement the Abatement Program which will aim to achieve better health and environmental outcomes and continue to lower blood/lead levels for families and children.”
Nyrstar Chief Executive Officer Roland Junck said the transformation will provide a long term sustainable future for the Port Pirie operation, its employees and the local community.
"Without the support of the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments, the transformation would not be possible,” Mr Junck said.
“What has been achieved here working together with government is exceptional, and is a model of which many other countries could take note.