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Sanjeev Gupta and the GFG Alliance Leadership team have outlined their vision for the future of Liberty OneSteel with a national tour of the company's key sites.

Liberty OneSteel can look forward to a significant investment boost to help capitalise on expected infrastructure project growth in Australia in coming years.

That was the message delivered by GFG Alliance Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Michael Morley and the GFG Alliance leadership team as they completed a tour of Liberty OneSteel sites around Australia last week.

At a series of flag-raising events and celebrations, attended by federal and state politicians, local mayors and councillors, and trade union leaders, as well as hundreds of staff, customers and industry stakeholders, Mr Gupta announced a 100-day review of the Liberty OneSteel business and a programme of major investments to underpin a transformation plan to expand the company’s capability and capacity, including:

  • Investing up to US$1 billion across the Whyalla steelworks and mining businesses to:
    • modernise key parts of the plant
    • expand steel-making capacity
    • expand the range of steel grades and downstream products produced
    • improve energy-generation capabilities, including a new co-generation power plant to capture and reuse waste gases, generating on-site captive power
  • Boost capacity utilisation at the world-class electric arc furnaces and rolling mills in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle
  • Align, improve and expand production and service capabilities to capitalise fully on significant infrastructure project growth in Australia.

In addition, the GFG Alliance is exploring further potential investments in Australia, including:

  • A new state-of-the-art, world-class steel plant of four to five million tonnes at Whyalla
  • Major port and infrastructure development
  • Complementary mining activities, including iron ore and coking coal, to ensure raw material supply at stable prices
  • New electric arc furnace capacity to melt more of Australia’s ferrous scrap at home, focused on excess scrap-generating regions, pursuing GFG Alliance’s globally renowned GREENSTEEL strategy, creating long-term sustainable value and jobs
  • New large-scale pumped hydro and solar power plants to assist in addressing Australia’s energy imbalance and high energy costs.

An early win in the 100-day plan is the announcement that GFG Alliance, through its energy division, SIMEC Energy, have reached an agreement with ZEN Energy to establish a strategic partnership and acquire a majority stake in ZEN, a prominent emerging Australian energy company providing businesses and households with affordable, reliable and tailor-made solutions.

This is a major step towards realising GFG Alliance’s Australian energy ambitions. The opportunity to invest in large-scale power projects to meet its own industrial requirements and support the domestic economy was a key driver for GFG’s strategic entry into Australia.

This was highlighted at the Liberty OneSteel launch events in Whyalla (SA), Laverton (Vic), Dandenong (Vic), Rooty Hill (NSW), Mayfield (NSW), Revesby (NSW), Coopers Plain (Qld) and Hemmant (Qld), where Mr Gupta shared his passion for steel and his exciting vision for the future of Liberty OneSteel with stakeholders, including local, state and federal governments, the workforce, trade unions, customers and suppliers.

He also thanked them for supporting the business through challenging times. “Many people have made significant sacrifices and played a critical role in sustaining the operation through the difficult months of administration and we want to pay tribute to them for their patience and resilience, which has now given the GFG Alliance this opportunity to take the business forward,” he said.

The new ownership of Liberty OneSteel heralds a new era of certainty for staff, communities, suppliers and customers. A sense of optimism was tangible at all the events, fuelled by Mr Gupta’s pledge to invest in the expansion and modernisation of key parts of the business.

Speaking at Whyalla, South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill commented: “This great place of grit and determination is embarking on a great new era. It’s not just doing that for Whyalla, it’s also doing that for our nation.”

In Mayfield, Newcastle, the mood was equally optimistic. An audience of over 300 Liberty OneSteel staff, customers and local stakeholders, including Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, were impressed by Mr Gupta’s vision for Liberty OneSteel. New South Wales Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald spoke of the value of the significant infrastructure investment pipeline in NSW and his government’s anticipation of working with Liberty OneSteel in its delivery.