Upper Spencer Gulf spin-off from steel deal

ENCOURAGED: Mayor John Rohde is encouraged by the latest developments surrounding the sale of the Whyalla steelworks.

ENCOURAGED: Mayor John Rohde is encouraged by the latest developments surrounding the sale of the Whyalla steelworks.

Upper Spencer Gulf mayors welcomed the announcement of a South Korean consortium as the final preferred bidder for Arrium.

And Port Pirie Regional Council mayor John Rohde knows all too well the significance of the announcement.

“Only a few years ago Port Pirie was in exactly the same position as Whyalla. We know first-hand how much this announcement means,” Mr Rohde said.

He said that the region’s future was strengthened in each city thanks to increased investment in the region.

“With the Pirie smelter transformation well underway, progress with the OZ Minerals copper treatment and processing plant and now a strong likelihood of major investment and upgrade to the Whyalla steelworks, we are now much closer to securing the future of the Upper Spencer Gulf as a major player in advanced manufacturing in this state,” he said.​ 

Port Augusta’s mayor and chairman of the Spencer Gulf Cities Association, Sam Johnson, said the announcement provided confidence for the whole of the upper gulf.

“This is a fantastic announcement that will not only impact positively on Whyalla, but Port Augusta and Port Pirie as well,” he said.

“Port Augusta is still struggling with the loss of the power station last year so any positive announcements for Whyalla will certainly help our community as well.” 

Whyalla mayor Lyn Breuer said the past year had put a significant strain on the community, with the announcement providing a sense of relief and paving the way for renewed optimism.

“The past 14 months of uncertainty has certainly taken its toll on our community and our economy,” she said. “While the sale still has to be finalised, we are happy with the announcement – it is a major step forward.”

“We are particularly excited by news the final bid proposes a significant investment in new technology at the steelworks.”

Ms Breuer acknowledged the efforts of both the South Australian and Australian governments in supporting the sale.

“We have been heartened by the co-operation by state and federal ministers and parliamentarians,” she said.