Nyrstar, an integrated mining and metals business with market leading positions in zinc and lead, announced that it has signed a binding agreement for the final funding and support package for upgrading its lead smelter at Port Pirie in South Australia.
“I am pleased to announce that we have reached this pivotal milestone in the Redevelopment. The funding agreement gives us the certainty we need to move forward and transform Nyrstar Port Pirie into an advanced metal recovery and refining facility that will benefit all our employees, the Port Pirie community and our investors,” Roland Junck Chief Executive Officer of Nyrstar said.
“We remain on track with work on site for this year, construction work to begin early next year, and the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2016.”
According to the company’s announcement, the estimated total capital of the redevelopment is $514 million, which is $63 million more than the company initially forecasted.
Mr Junck says the cost of the project has risen because an increased capacity sulphuric acid plant will be built.
The company has also explored the possibility of contracting a third party to build, own and operate the acid plant, but ultimately decided that it would be more beneficial for Nyrstar not to do so in order to retain full operational control and subsequent marketing benefits.
According to the article on ABC, the 120-year old smelter, which employs about 800 people, will be upgraded into an advanced metals recovery and refining operation with significantly lower gas emissions.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the deal marked the beginning of a new era for the old smelter, and would also secure jobs for Port Pirie’s future.
“Today we announce that agreement has been secured for a $514 million investment by Nyrstar which will be underpinned by the South Australian Government providing a guarantee to transform this smelter and secure a future for Nyrstar here in Port Pirie,” he told a news conference at the site.
He also informed that the project will be accompanied by a 10-year $50 million health program aimed at lead abatement.
“To complement the significant reductions achieved through the redevelopment, a targeted lead abatement program will identify strategies that can further reduce community blood-lead levels,” he said.