BUSINESS hasn't been easy in the world of manufacturing.
Australia has been left with just four aluminium smelters after yet another one closed down in recent weeks.
But Boyne Smelters Ltd has continued to work on ways to cut costs and keep its 1200 employees in a job.
The biggest unknown is a percentage of its power costs, and the smelter in the past few weeks has managed to secure a 12-month contract for its variable supply.
The other 85% is supplied by a long-term contract with Gladstone Power Station.
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Boyne Smelters Ltd general manager Joe Rea said the contract would enable them to work at full capacity.
"As you may know, the first quarter this year we had to curtail our production by around 13 thousand tonnes and that was always going to hurt us," he said.
"We didn't put people off during that time… it has cost us, but we now have a contract that extends to October next year."
Mr Rea said the smelter was also hoping to become exempt from the Federal Government's renewable energy target, which was costing the smelter $25 million a year.
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"The aluminium industry is going through unprecedented tough times and the headwinds we face competing on a world scale are as bad as it's ever been," he said.
"In fact it's 20% worse than the GFC and 40% worse than the long-term average for aluminium pricing."
In 2013 the site introduced its new vision 'Proudly Australian, operating beyond 2030', which is a guiding principle for its safety and business decisions.
"It's not just about what we do to keep the business viable against increasing overseas competition, but also, and more importantly, how and why we do it," Mr Rea said.
"The how is with Australian pride and that starts with no injuries to our workmates. The why includes strengthening the manufacturing future for young Australians."
In the past two years, BSL has:
- Reduced contractors by 46%
- Reduced full-time employees by 15%
- Reduced CO2 emissions close to 4%, equal to taking 10,000 cars off the road
- Reduced energy consumption on Lines 1 and 2 by 3%, which equals the power to 30,000 houses
- Controllable costs down 17%
- IT, HR and procurement services reduced by 50%
Smelter records big safety milestone
CONVEYOR belts, fork lifts zipping around and extreme heat conditions can cause major safety hazards, but the workers at Boyne Smelters Ltd have achieved a historic safety milestone this year.
Now more than two million hours recordable injury free on site, the BSL workforce focus on one task at a team and look out for their mates.
BSL's 1200 staff and contractors achieved the milestone on September 28, an achievement never before reached in the plant's 32 year history and one that is
seldom seen in any heavy industry environment.
General manager Joe Rea said it was an incredible accomplishment that team members and team leaders at BSL were extremely proud of.
"These milestones don't come from luck, nor do they come from focusing on breaking records by the accumulation of consecutive safe days building on our safety board at the site's entrance," he said.
Mr Rea said BSL team members and leaders had worked on a number of complementary initiatives in the past 12 months in a bid to improve the site safety result.
"At the end of the day going home to our families is the biggest incentive we have," he said.