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Port Pirie
Posted on : May 16, 2014

An announcement will be made today at regional Port Pirie in South Australia about the redevelopment proposal for the local smelter.

Its operator Nyrstar has given board approval for the $385 million transformation of the lead smelter, subject to finalisation of a funding and support package.

The smelter would become an advanced metals recovery and refining operation in a shift which would cut the plant's atmospheric emissions.

There have been studies of the blood-lead levels of local children over several years and extensive efforts to reduce dangers from lead.

The South Australian Government recently agreed to underwrite the transformation project.

Mark Hanlon of the Port Pirie Chamber of Commerce says there is huge excitement among locals about the way forward.

"The community for a long time has had lots of promises come to no avail [but] today's decision, assuming that it's very, very positive, will put a massive amount of confidence back," he said.

"We've had promises of magnesium plants, camel abattoirs, lots of things that for whatever reason have never come to fruition, but this decision not only injects a lot of people into the community - because there would be 400 jobs coming with this upgrade - but more importantly it gives longevity to the city itself."

Port Pirie Mayor Brenton Vanstone says an upgrade would go against a wider trend in manufacturing.

"We see so much going overseas especially into the Asian region and to see manufacturing consolidating in a city and in a regional city in South Australia is so important," he said.

"I think it's not only important for Port Pirie but for South Australia and our whole economy and we'd love to see some of this replicated around Australia.

"This will be a state-of-the-art smelter by world standards and we expect to see far more smelting on behalf of other companies, a busier port, a busier city and a growing city. You won't see many places around Australia with $385 million being spent on manufacturing and processing, the city is on the verge of a very exciting future."

This will be a state-of-the-art smelter by world standards and we expect to see far more smelting on behalf of other companies, a busier port, a busier city and a growing city.
- Brenton Vanstone

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