A preferred bidder for Arium was named on Wednesday, potentially saving the town of Whyalla.
Newlake Alliance have lead a South Korean consortium in a bid which beat out UK-based company Liberty House.
Backed by POSCO Steel, the preferred bidders have the support of the Australian Workers’ Union who are urging the state and federal governments to meet the outlined requirements.
Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson has reinforced how much this deal will not only save Whyalla Steelworks and that city, but also benefit the town of Port Augusta.
“I’m not sure people actually understand how much Arrium supports the state and the whole region, not just Whyalla,” he said.
“There is a substantial number of people employed in Port Augusta who drive to and from Arrium and both directly and indirectly a number of those feeder businesses as well, like your Ottoway Fabrications for example and our rail services in Port Augusta.” He said 50 people employed in Port Augusta servicing the rail network which supports Arrium are just one example of the way the town benefits from steelworks company.
“It’s not just critical for Whyalla, but the entire region and knowing that there is a buyer — knowing that it is going to continue and that someone is going to spend a billion dollars upgrading the plant equipment is fantastic,” he said.
Mr Johnson, who is chairman of the Spencer Gulf Cities Association, said confidence had been boosted for the whole of the upper gulf.
“Port Augusta is still struggling with the loss of the power station so any positive announcements for Whyalla will help our community as well,” he said.