As Whyalla heads into a new era, these are the people who will lead the way.
The Liberty Primary Steel Transformation Project has been set in motion, with a local team investigating how to make the Whyalla Steelworks more sustainable.
General Manager Michiel Freislich said he was very excited about the future of Liberty Primary Steel.
“We’re at a point where we are starting to understand what we want to do with the business,” he said.
”We’re trying to develop the project detail sufficiently so we can get the contractors onto site and start building.”
Mr Freislich said it was important the team didn’t underestimate the challenge in front of the business.
“It’s an old asset, it needs to be rejuvenated. It’s sitting in a difficult spot, a lot of the materials we deal with are not that easy to work with so we need to find unique solutions,” he said.
“We’ve got a great team, we’ve got great engagement with the business...we believe that we are going to build a unique steelworks here that will make Whyalla a special place in the international steel community.”
But construction of a new steel plant won’t happen overnight, with the team having to meet a number of regulatory approvals which could take up to 4-5 years to achieve.
“We know people want to see progress but we have to stick to through things to make sure the plant is safe, environmentally-friendly and sustainable,” Mr Freislich said.
Liberty Primary Steel Chief Operating Officer Theuns Victor said the decisions made through the transformation project would ‘live with us for the next 50 years’.
“It’s important to make the right decisions,” he said.
A brochure detailing the key facets of the transformation project will be sent out to all Whyalla households in an effort to improve communication between the business and the community.
“Part of what we should be doing is taking the community with us on the journey and making sure they understand where we are (up to),” Mr Victor said.
“Up til now we’ve been very active in trying to understand what we should be doing, and in that process we’ve actually not communicated as well as what we should.
“We are going to step up now and make sure we communicate enough to the community so that there’s a realistic expectation about the next steps.”