BOYNE Smelter Limited could start shutting down reduction cells from December 16 if it can't lock in a competitive deal for 15% of its power supply. And any cut in productivity would also mean job cuts at the smelter.
That's unless an eleventh-hour deal can be done to secure a supply for 140 megawatts of energy into the operation.
With power costs 20% less in New South Wales and 30% less in Victoria, BSL general manager Joe Rea said the current offers, including one from Gladstone Power Station, weren't competitive enough.
He told an Australian Institute of Management Gladstone business breakfast on Wednesday that, as BSL was requiring a constant supply of power, it was one of the better contracts to acquire.
He said even if the Federal Government got rid of the carbon tax, which currently takes $13 million out of the business annually, "taking it away will help us but it won't change the dynamic".
"If we don't get this power block it will be the end of investment and capital for a long time."
He said costs were already being cut, and BSL employees had been asked to come up with $10,000 worth of savings for the operators.
"From process technicians, to tradies and engineers, they've been putting forward solutions we can easily implement," he said.
"They've come up with $6.9 million in savings just from asking that one question this year."