Manufacturing News

Arrium considers Whyalla steelworks closure

Arrium’s Whyalla’s steelworks, which employs around 1,100, is at risk of shutting down if $60 million in savings cannot be found.

This morning the company said that it was considering putting both the steelworks and the mining division (also headquartered in Whyalla) in care and maintenance. The Advertiser reports that studies currently being undertaken on care and maintenance, which would be completed mid-year.

It is in the middle of cutting 200 fulltime jobs and 380 contractors at the SA Southern Iron project.

The news came as the company announced an after-tax loss of $235.8 million for the half-year to December 31, an improvement on the $1.5 billion loss the year before.

The steelmaking division of the miner/steelmaker received relief from the decline in iron ore prices, with the ABC reporting it saw a 238 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax and interest earnings

Fairfax notes that the Melbourne and Sydney electric arc furnace operations make money, but Whyalla was a loss-maker for the steel division.

Acting Whyalla mayor Tom Antonio convened a meeting of councilors, local MP Rowan Ramsey and other stakeholders following the news.

“We will make a full statement once we’ve got our head around Arrium’s announcement — it’s pretty disturbing,” he told The Advertiser.

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