BSL ready to ramp-up operations despite challenges

AS fast as the cost-cutting was announced, Boyne Smelter Limited is on the ramp-up and back to full production on April 1.

It's no laughing matter, despite starting on April Fool's Day.

The production cuts for the smelter has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and yet it has still been cheaper than paying the full electricity bill.

Boyne Smelter Limited's general manager Joe Rea told a GAPDL luncheon on Thursday that only the most nimble and efficient plants would continue to survive the projected tough years ahead.

"We plan to return to full production in April, but only have certainty until September 2014 for the 15% of our production for which we need the 140MW contract," he said.

The remaining 85% of the smelter's electricity is supplied under a long-term contract with Gladstone Power Station.

Mr Rea said the smelter operations were determined to stay in the Gladstone region but confirmed the aluminium industry was facing unprecedented market challenges due to the high Australian dollar, weak global aluminium prices, the growth of the Chinese sector and high energy costs.

"We are ever-mindful of the immediate challenges to run this business leaner than we've ever run it before," he said.

"Our own people have identified $19 million in savings over the past two years and are helping us as we try to take control of our own destiny."

CUTTING COSTS

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 of 30,000 houses.
  • Controllable costs down 17%.
  • IT, HR and procurement services reduced by 50%.
Boyne Smelters Ltd General Manager Joe Rea during the GAPDL Qantaslink Business Luncheon held at the Yaralla Sports Club, Gladstone.
Boyne Smelters Ltd General Manager Joe Rea during the GAPDL Qantaslink Business Luncheon held at the Yaralla Sports Club, Gladstone. Luka Kauzlaric


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