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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2484


Senator CANT asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for National Development, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd enter into an agreement with the Western Australian Government to construct by 1978 an integrated steel works at Kwinana capable of producing one million tons of fabricated steel per year, in order to obtain control of certain iron ore reserves in Western Australia.

(2)   Has the company recently announced an increase in expenditure on plant at Newcastle amounting to $82m.

(3)   Has the company also announced the possible closure of the steel works at Kwinana at the end of March.

(4)   In view of the potential closure of the steel works at Kwinana can the expenditure at Newcasetle be justified.


Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The Brokern Hill Proprietary Company Ltd, has entered into agreements with the Western Australian Government to construct by 1978 an integrated steel works at Kwinana, in order to obtain control of certain iron ore reserves in Western Australia. The plant is to consist of a blast furnace having a production capacity by 1978 of not less than 500,000 tons per annum of basic pig iron or equivalent foundry iron and steel making facilities capable of producing not less than 500,000 tons of steel per annum in a form and a quality ready for marketing.

(2)   It has been reported that the additional expenditure at Newcastle is not concerned directly with the introduction of new iron making or steel making facilities. The major elements of the expenditure involve a new bloom mill and continuous mill complex, extension to the foundry, bulk power supply, extension to a merchant mill and a rotary lime kiln. As this expenditure will result in the installation of additional rolling capacity it is proposed to expand the steel making production of the currently installed facilities from 2.14 million to 2.68 million tons per annum to service this capacity.

(3)   The expansion at Newcastle therefore should not affect operations at Kwinana which is concerned with pig iron not steel production. Production of pig iron at Kwinana was threatened by lack of orders but recent reports indicate that sufficient new orders have been received to alleviate the closure of the blast furnace in the near future.

(4)   It should not be expected that short term fluctuations in the demand for pig iron products from Kwinana would materially affect long term planning for the expansion of the Australian steel industry of which the announced expansion at Newcastle forms a part.







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