A dramatic reduction in emissions from Nyrstar smelter is expected under a proposal to upgrade the sinter plant.
The project, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is being considered at the top-level of the Belgian company.
While the sinter plant has operated for many years, the time may have come for a revamp.
If approved, the project would be a huge vote of confidence in the future of the smelter in Port Pirie.
News of the possible development comes as Premier Jay Weatherill is due to arrive in Port Pirie today.
Mr Weatherill met with the company’s chief executive officer, Roland Junck, and other executives in London earlier this year.
This was among many meetings between the company and the Premier and his Ministers.
At the London gathering, the participants discussed a growth strategy and the role of Port Pirie in that strategy.
Part of the announcement was that the company would review technical and commercial aspects of redevelopment, meaning the sinter plant project was being considered.
Smelter general manager Glenn Poynter said any redevelopment would centre on the sinter plant, but would also involve the acid plant and blast furnace.
The sinter plant converts feed materials into “lump” suitable for charging into the blast furnace.
Part of that is “desulphurisation” and producing sulphuric acid.
Nyrstar is committed to its operations in Port Pirie and to consult and engage key policy-makers to deliver long-term sustainability for its operations.
With this focus, Nyrstar welcomes the opportunity to continue meaningful dialogue with the State Government, in particular Mr Weatherill who is thought likely to meet Mr Poynter while visiting Port Pirie.
Recently Nyrstar embarked on an ambitious growth strategy that will require the business to maintain a sharp focus on key strategic priorities. As with all of its operations, Port Pirie has a key role to play in the delivery of this strategy.
Ensuring key policy-makers are aware of this strategy and the work being undertaken to deliver a sustainable Port Pirie operation is vital to the business.
Also vital is the need to grow awareness of the ongoing work Nyrstar has done to minimise its environmental footprint and to ensure understanding of the impact policies such as the Federal Government’s carbon tax will have on the delivery of the business strategy.
Nyrstar takes its responsibilities to the community seriously and will continue to consult and engage all stakeholders as it works to provide an environmentally-sustainable and profitable multi-metals processing facility at Port Pirie.
Nyrstar is reviewing the technical and commercial merits of a potential redevelopment of the smelter, with a view to reducing its environmental footprint and securing its future.