Local contracts worth millions of dollars offered by Pirie smelter

Local firms - and some yet to be created - could share in tens of millions of dollars of new contracts to be tendered by Nyrstar smelter.

The scenario emerged on Tuesday at the launch of the company's Local Business Priority Program which already injects $60 million into our economy.

Smelter chief Nic Clift and regional procurement manager Marthinus le Roux told how the company wanted to improve its deals to use local services and equipment.

About 140 people attended a breakfast at the Function Centre at Memorial Oval to hear the good news.

Mr le Roux told The Recorder that the company knew some of the future businesses for procurement were "not there yet".

He encouraged locals to start businesses with backing from bigger companies to fill "gaps" in supply.

"It is a reason why we are not spending more ... we are interested in encouraging people to try something different and new and grow into new businesses," he said.

He said the company already spent $60 million on local services and equipment with $8.6 million "immediately" available.

Another $140 million was also spent on procurement and there was "scope" for tens of millions of dollars of this package to be redirected to Port Pirie tenderers.

He said local businesses with contracts below $1 million would be paid in 30 days or less under a revised payment scheme.

Mr Clift said the plant would develop a recycling hub as well as create new products.

Alkaline batteries could be brought in to yield zinc.