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Feds won't rule out Arrium bailout

Business

The Federal Government is not ruling out a bailout for troubled steel producer Arrium in a bid to stave off job losses at its South Australian plant.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to visit Whyalla on Wednesday following discussions with SA Premier Jay Weatherill about the plant’s future.

“We’re not ruling anything in or out at this stage and I think it’s moving in the right direction,” Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told reporters in Adelaide.

Arrium has flagged it may mothball its Whyalla steelworks unless it can find $60 million in cash savings to break even.

The company cut about 900 jobs at Whyalla last year as it grappled with a plunge in iron ore and steel prices and cheap imports.

“I’m using the levers that are available to me as the minister to do things that are immediately within my power to help the Whyalla steelworks,” Pyne said.

“Arrium is doing their part, the employees of Arrium are doing their part and I’m very confident we’ll be able to work our way through it.”

Pyne has previously said that any Commonwealth support for Arrium would be conditional on structural reform.

He has announced an urgent inquiry into alleged dumping of cheap Chinese steel in Australia, which could result in duties being applied to such products.

The closure of Arrium’s Whyalla plant would result in the loss of about 1000 jobs and also risk a flow-on to thousands more across the region.

AAP

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