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Hon Rob Lucas MLC, Treasurer

The Marshall Liberal Government has announced it has successfully secured the agreement of Trafigura Group Pte Ltd, the new majority owner of the Port Pirie lead smelter, to repay the entire remaining $262.1 million owed under the $291.1 million SA taxpayer-guaranteed loan.

It comes as the company advises it is expanding its Port Pirie workforce, creating an additional 70 full-time permanent jobs including mechanical, electrical and project engineers, production operators and other roles in finance, safety and human resources. An additional 30 contract positions will be offered full-time positions.

In July, Treasurer Rob Lucas gave State consent to the smelter’s change of ownership from Nyrstar to its largest shareholder Trafigura, which also included agreed terms for the repayments to be made compulsory.

However, rather than repaying the remaining balance owed in instalments until November 2022, Trafigura has today repaid the total $262.1 million outstanding in full – three years early.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said it was an “excellent outcome for taxpayers’’.

“The Government welcomes the agreement with Trafigura which ensures South Australian taxpayers are no longer exposed to the $291.1 million guaranteed loan.

“Not only has Trafigura repaid the loan in full, but it’s been repaid three years earlier than expected.

“This agreement allows the Port Pirie smelter to return to business as usual without a reliance on, and the conditions of, Government-guaranteed support.

“We also welcome the news that 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 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.”

The repayment also coincides with the successful restart of the new primary Top Submerged Lance furnace following an extensive refurbishment, earlier this month.

The company is currently advertising for the new roles and expect to fill them in the next few months.

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Wednesday 27 October 2019