Why the Adani steel offer is false hope for South Australia’s steel industry

Adani’s one-off steel order of 56,000 tonnes would be less than 2% of Whyalla steelworks capacity

Arrium steel production plant at Whyalla

Today’s announcement that the Adani coal project would ‘throw a lifeline’ to South Australian steel producer Arrium OneSteel is the latest piece of deception from a company known for its exaggerated economic promises.

South Australians should be wary of a company that routinely promises so much but delivers so little.

To describe a one-off order of 56,000 tonnes of steel as a ‘lifeline’ for Arrium and Whyalla is a cruel hoax.

Arrium OneSteel has the capacity to produce 2.5 million tonnes of steel per year. Adani’s apparent order of just 56,000 tonnes over two and a half years would utilise less than one percent of Arrium’s total capacity, and less than two percent of the capacity of its Whyalla steelworks.

Whyalla steelworks

Adani have long claimed their mine and railway would create 10,000 jobs. They later had to concede in court under oath that the number of jobs was more like 1,400 direct and indirect jobs. It’s a timely reminder that while some might find it funny to lie to a journalist, it’s a crime to lie to a judge.

Now we see these same claims that Adani will bring 10,000 jobs to South Australia alone?

Arrium is under voluntary administration. The company collapsed with a debt of $2.8 billion. This $73 million order might sound impressive on the nightly news, but represents only 2.5% of that debt, without considering the costs of making the steel. South Australians should ask themselves, and ask the debt administrators KordaMentha, whether they consider this a ‘lifeline’.

In fact, this government’s determination to send the Australian car industry offshore has done far more damage to the Australian steel and manufacturing sector than even building the world’s largest coal mine could ever fix.

Adani’s order would be a one-off order, while the car industry buys steel every year. So unless they’re planning to subsidise more coal mines, more regularly, the idea that the Coalition’s determination to subsidise the Adani coal mine is a win for the South Australian steel industry is ridiculous at best.

Once again Adani and Minister Canavan are making big promises about a mine project that the Queensland Treasury describes as “unbankable.”

And this is the project to keep Whyalla on the map? What could possibly go wrong?

an independent think-tank based in Canberra > australia.org.au

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