Steel Institute urges caution on BlueScope Port Kembla predictions

The Australian Steel Institute has said that there is no immediate danger of the BlueScope Port Kembla steelworks shutting, following a report warning of local economic disaster if this happens.

Earlier this week a report by University of Wollongong’s Dr Scott Burrows and commissioned by the Australian Workers Union warned of 6,500 indirect jobs losses as well as 3,500 direct job losses if the site closed.

This would roughly double the local unemployment rate of 8.3 per cent, according to the research.

Ian Cairns of the Australian Steel Institute urged caution in discussions about the steelworks’ future.

"I'd like to stress that these figures are built on the complete closure of Port Kembla steelworks and I think that's probably a jump or two, or three ahead of the current situation," he told the ABC.

"I'd just like to put that in a bit of perspective."

He also said that a minimum mandated quantity of local steel should be used in major government infrastructure projects.

The question marks over the steelmaker’s future in Port Kembla, where is has said it needs to remove $50 per tonne for the cost of hot rolled coil production, come as China enacts the biggest devaluation of its currency in two decades, notes the Australian Financial Review.

This would further increase the appeal of importing steel from China rather than producing it.

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