Boyne Smelters secures production for next year

BOYNE Smelters Limited has secured an electricity contract which will allow full production for another 12 months.

The contract is for up to 170MW per annum starting on October 1.

BSL general manager Joe Rea said the new arrangements provided some short-term certainty for the business.

"We were in an unfortunate situation earlier this year when high, uncompetitive electricity prices made production uneconomic for us, and caused us to partially curtail for three months," Mr Rea said.

"Re-commissioning the aluminium reduction cells following the curtailment was an expensive, complicated exercise, requiring an extraordinary amount of manpower to bring production fully back on line.

"Our new contract, while only for the next 12 months, provides more time to find long-term sustainable energy solutions for the business.

"This is good news for our 1100-strong workforce, the region and for Queensland."

The new contract represents 17% of production at BSL. The remaining 83% of the smelter's electricity is currently contracted with the Gladstone Power Station.

"To put it in perspective, this new contract would be enough to power every household on the Gold Coast for a year," Mr Rea said.

"When you look at it on that scale, you begin to understand the importance of this contract and how critical affordable electricity is to our business.

"We remain committed to the Gladstone region and to adding value to Queensland's natural resources, providing we can maintain ongoing competitive energy prices and compete internationally.

"We are doing all we can to reduce our operational costs. Since 2011 we have reduced our costs by $50 million, reduced our workforce by 22% and we are looking at targeting a further $110 million in onsite savings over the next two years."

Mr Rea said the key to the company's financial viability was competitively priced energy and a regulatory environment that supported global trade.

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