Both the state and federal governments are set to be “working hard” to ensure they provide the correct amount of support for the preferred Arrium bidder.
The state government has $50 million on the table for the new owner which is likely to be a South Korean Consortium led by Newlake Alliance, but more aid is being negotiated.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said Whyalla’s steel industry is one the nation cannot afford to lose, but that didn’t mean that would lead to an “open cheque book” for the consortium.
“The key word is sustainability – the state and federal governments are not interested in a piecemeal approach,” he said.
“We want to put the business into a long-term, sustainable position. The Commonwealth and the state government are working diligently to answer questions about assistance.”
Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey confirmed that Newlake was seeking “some” support from both governments.
"The governments are working closely together on this deal and I am confident agreement will be reached in the next few weeks,” he said.
Mr Ramsey said that Newlake was prepared to inject upwards of $1 billion into new steel making technology which could create a construction boom in Whyalla and improve the jobs market.
“Newlake has access to Posco's FINEX steel technology which produces lots of extra gas so it is planned the plant will include a sizeable base-load generator,” he said.
“The generator will have some capacity to not only meet the needs of the plant, but also contribute the valuable base-load generation to our struggling electricity grid.”
Mr Koutsantonis said the potential for the plant to pump power into the Eyre Peninsula was a “great opportunity”. “I have seen FINEX first-hand and have to say it is a remarkable piece of technology. It will be a great asset for this nation to have it here,” he said.
The sale is subject to approval from the Committee of Creditors and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
"I can't speak for the creditors, but given that they have selected this bid, one would think that would be forthcoming. Similarly, can not see any reason why there should be any problem with board approval,” Mr Ramsey said. Mr Koutsantonis praised Mayor Lyn Breuer and her council, Member for Giles Eddie Hughes and Mr Ramsey for their work.