6 March 2019

Transforming Whyalla

Whyalla and upper Spencer Gulf businesses are set to benefit from the GFG Alliance’s plans to transform Whyalla.

GFG Alliance, founded and owned by the British Gupta Family, combines some of the world’s leading industrial, natural and financial resources, working together towards the delivery of a common industrial strategy.

In 2017, GFG ended months of uncertainty with the purchase of the Whyalla Steelworks from Arrium, and Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta revealed plans to invest well over $1 billion in the steelworks in the short-to-medium term. The longer-term plan is to transform the steelworks into the largest steel plant in the Western world.

Now, 18 months down the track, those plans are starting to come to fruition, with the GFG Alliance using ICN Gateway to provide opportunities for local businesses.

ICN SA Consultant Eddie Ivar said GFG recognised that a lot of suppliers have worked with their Australian operations over the years, but the company was interested in exploring what new capabilities are available, or which companies might have broadened their scope or increased their capacity.

“They will potentially be investing a lot of money on upgrading the facilities, and that will provide a lot of opportunities, but it takes time,” he said.

Gateway is currently listing four broad opportunities for expressions of interest, with more specific work packages being rolled out over time, for both construction and ongoing services.

“It’s a great opportunity for local Whyalla and Spencer Gulf businesses – as well as national expertise – to get in front a large multinational company,” Eddie said.

GFG Alliance Manager Sourcing and Procurement Whyalla, Daniel Schmidt, said the process of listing on Gateway was “very easy and the team are of great help”.

 “We put a lot of value in supporting local and national supply chains.  We will continue to work with the ICN to encourage local businesses to grow, and for national companies to develop and maintain a footprint in Whyalla and the region, continuing to help strengthen the community and our supply chains,” he said.

“We will be expanding our presence on the ICN for both ongoing service and materials contract as well as for the EOI process for our major projects.”

The Whyalla transformation program will see the current Whyalla steelworks operations evolve into a modern, world-class, sustainable facility.  

This will include the construction of new plants and the upgrade of current facilities,  creating a safer and more globally-competitive operation.

Longer term, GFG has plans for a ‘next-generation’ mega steel plant, designed to produce 10 million tonnes per year with capability for expansion. It will be one of the few plants on this scale worldwide.

At a celebratory gathering in Whyalla’s Ada Ryan Gardens for Whyalla’s “Big Reveal”, Sanjeev Gupta said he was “quite used to looking for diamonds in the rough”.

“Here, I really truly did find a diamond,” he said.

“We have a place which has all the natural resources required to make steel, we have the best national resources for renewable energy, we have great infrastructure including a unique port and most of all we have a workforce willing to fight for destiny itself.”

At that same event, Chris Cowley, CEO Whyalla City Council, said “Whyalla is destined to become an economic powerhouse”.

“To achieve this, we are about to embark on developing and delivering one of the nation’s most comprehensive and innovative city transformation blueprints.”

Beyond the steel mill, GFG intends to explore opportunities to develop the Whyalla Port into a world-scale, multiuser facility; and to establish about 1 Gigawatt of renewable energy generation in the Upper Spencer Gulf through solar and hydro projects.

Businesses interested in being involved in this major project to transform Whyalla should ensure their Gateway Profile is current. Register for updates or submit an EOI on GFG Alliance Gateway Page.