Steel City no more!

Jobs axed as BlueScope dives into the red

Australia’s biggest steelmaker BlueScope Steel has confirmed it is shedding at least 1,000 jobs after reporting a net loss of more than $1 billion in the 12 months to June.

This morning BlueScope confirmed it was ending exports from its Port Kembla steelworks, with the loss of around 800 jobs.

Another 200 jobs will go at the Western Port steel mill at Hastings, east of Melbourne, while the company says it expects more jobs to be lost through flow-on effects to contractors.

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The Mercury understands entire sections at the plant will be closed.

The No 6 blast furnace is due to close in early October, reducing raw steel production to 2.6 million tonnes a year.

Jobs will also be cut at the No 4 coke ovens, one steel-making furnace and slab caster No 1.

Shift pattern changes will be implemented at the sinter plant, bulk berth, raw materials and the No 3 paint line which will result in reductions.

BlueScope will offer voluntary redundancies but it is expected forced redundancies will be required.

The withdrawal from the export business looks permanent. Should domestic production step up the No 6 furnace would be refired but this would take six to 12 months.

A job centre will be set up at Port Kembla and at its Western Port factory in Hastings, Victoria.

The company will be meeting with the union today.

High commodity prices and international competition has badly affected BlueScope’s profits. But the high Australian dollar has been the killer.

Contractors for BlueScope and suppliers will also be affected.

But note: Gujarat NRE posts $24.6m profit.

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Gujarat NRE Coking Coal chairman Arun Jagatramka (left) with directors Dr Andrew Firek, Mona Jagatramka and Maurice Anghie and HW Worldwide Consulting chief consultant Neil Bristow after announcing a $24.6 million profit at its annual general meeting. Picture: GREG ELLIS Illawarra Mercury

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