With the weight of Whyalla resting on his shoulders, Liberty House chairman Sanjeev Gupta fronted the media at the steelworks on Monday to speak about how he plans to turn the company around.
Mr Gupta said Liberty House plans to spend well over $1 billion dollars to expand the steelworks, which could result in more jobs for the Whyalla community.
“If we go from what the steelworks is today – just over a million tonne plant – we see this being at least a 1.5 million tonne plant,” he said.
“Beyond that the sky is the limit, you could see this being a 5-10 million tonne plant in the future.”
With the natural resources that the steelworks provides, it’s likely that the steelworks will feature prominently in the global empire of Liberty House.
“If we can make the right investment in technology, given the infrastructure that already exists, then there is a lot of potential,” he said.
“We have quite a vast program of different investments, in terms of value adding at the steelworks including a new furnace that will enable us to make oil gas slabs which are required at our plate mill in Scotland.
“Then we will focus on expanding downstream products including rail, all of that is part of a 3-to-4-year program.”
Mr Gupta met with a sea of local workers at the steelworks, and said he could only imagine the hardships they had endured of the past 15 months.
“It must have been a grueling, horrible time. I can only try and imagine their situation, but I can empathise with them,” he said.
“Arrium needs a lot of work, but we are committed to it and I will not rest until we have put it in the right direction.”
Local employee Roger Biedenwig said the workers’ morale went through the roof after hearing news of the sale.
“It’s very, very exciting. We hope the company will have a great future, the morale throughout the whole department has risen and you can really feel a buzz through the business,” he said.
Mayor Lyn Breuer said securing a buyer for Arrium was a tremendous morale boost for Whyalla.