Mr President, I would like to update the house on the current status of the financing arrangement for Nyrstar’s redevelopment project of its smelter in Port Pirie.
The Marshall Liberal Government has successfully secured the agreement of Trafigura Group, the new majority owner of the Port Pirie lead smelter, to repay the remaining $262.125 million owed under a $291.25 million SA taxpayer-guaranteed loan.
In July 2019 as Treasurer, I granted formal consent for the smelter’s change of ownership from Nyrstar to Trafigura which included an agreement for the repayments of the guaranteed loan to be made compulsory.
However, rather than repaying the remaining balance in instalments until November 2022, Trafigura has today repaid the total $262.125 million outstanding. In full – three years early.
Mr President, this is an excellent outcome for the taxpayers of South Australia. No longer do we have the exposure of $262 million swinging in the breeze.
This agreement allows the Port Pirie smelter to return to a business as usual basis without reliance on, and the conditions of, Government-guaranteed support.
As part of the agreement, Nyrstar Port Pirie has also agreed to work proactively with the independent Environment Protection Authority to develop a closure management framework to manage its environmental impacts, which will be incorporated into the smelter’s environmental authorisation at an appropriate time.
Mr President, this has occurred at the same time as Nyrstar is expanding its local workforce, recruiting a significant number of people to fill expanded roles across the entire operations, from mechanical, electrical and project engineers to tradespeople and administrative roles.
The repayment also coincides, I am advised, with the successful restart of the new primary Top Submerged Lance furnace following an extensive refurbishment, earlier this month.
The smelter, along with its employees, their families and the entire Port Pirie community now has a strong foundation for a successful commercial and sustainable operation into the future under Trafigura’s stewardship.
Finally, Mr President I wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all of the State Team, in particular SAFA’s General Manager Mr Kevin Cantley and Ms Margot Gall, in bringing this early repayment to fruition.