A new brand, some new hope, and a new era.
GFG Alliance celebrated one year since they acquired the Whyalla Steelworks at a special ceremony on Friday, with the blustery conditions failing to cast a shadow on the celebrations.
Chairman Sanjeev Gupta paid tribute to Whyalla as he recounted how the city rose from the brink of collapse to now being a future renewable energy hub.
Mr Gupta said the business was in a good position for a ‘once in a generation’ transformation through the Whyalla transformation project.
“As well as lifting the steelworks’ production closer to its design capacity and identifying significant savings for mining, we have also established a world‐class transformation team,” he said.
“These experts are immersed in the feasibility phase to determine exactly what this project will look like. This work will position the business and city for sustainable success for generations to come.”
The major elements of the project are a $1 billion investment in GFG’s Whyalla operations and the US $1 billion, 1GW renewable energy program aimed at reducing South Australia’s power prices.
Mr Gupta said these elements would come to fruition over the coming years.
“We thank you for your patience, and ask for your continued determination and trust as these significant changes begin to take shape,” he said.
“We have a proven track record in this field – as well as the support of the Whyalla community, and local, state and federal governments – which enables us to succeed.”
Looking back at his achievements over the past year, Mr Gupta said the acquisition of the Tahmoor Coking Coal Mine was ‘extremely important’.
“That was a key raw material in this business that was missing,” he said.
“Coking coal prices tend to be very volatile, and that disrupts the business immensely. The mine was a very important part of the supply chain.”
The acquisition of SIMEC ZEN Energy and the launch of the 1GW renewable energy program through the 280MW Cultana Solar Farm project were ‘amazing milestones’ over the past year for Mr Gupta.
The anniversary included the unveiling of refreshed branding for GFG Alliance, which aims to better reflect GFG’s growing portfolio of businesses.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said he was in discussions with Mr Gupta about how the Whyalla Steelworks could be involved in the federal government’s $200 million defence spend.
“That (investment) requires steel, it requires fabrication, right across from ships to joint strike fighters and combat reconnaissance vehicles – there are real opportunities for companies like this one in Whyalla,” he said.
“I believe Whyalla has a reason to feel they could be part of that. It’s very hard to spend such a huge amount of money on manufacturing and for a city like Whyalla not to benefit from it.”