HAVE we got any money? No.

Are we likely to get any money? We are very hopeful to have that confirmed by the end of the year.

Those were the words of Euroa Steel, formerly Boulder Steel, chief operating officer Ross Johnson when he spoke at the GEA major industry conference yesterday.

Euroa Steel chief operating officer Ross Johnson explains the latest plans for the proposed steel plant in Gladstone to the GEA 2015 conference.
Euroa Steel chief operating officer Ross Johnson explains the latest plans for the proposed steel plant in Gladstone to the GEA 2015 conference. Allen Winter

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"We are still alive and we have been doing a huge amount of planning," he told the audience of about 100.

"Our Malaysian financiers say we are still very high priority for them, and they are likely to give us an answer by the end of the year. We are so near, but we still have to get over that hurdle."

HOW THE STEEL PLANT PROJECT HAS PROGRESSED

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>> Steel plant powers on with EIS

>> Plans for $6 billion steel plant progressed

>> Crunch time for $5 billion steel project

If the plant, planned to built on State Development Land at Targinie, goes ahead, it will mean an injection of an extra $200 million in wages into the Gladstone economy every year.

"We are anti-FIFO, so all of the 1800 employees at the plant will be expected to live locally," he said.

"Add to that a maintenance workforce from contracting companies within Gladstone and this plant will be a huge boost to Gladstone's economy."

He told the conference that the company had already signed "off take" agreements with potential steel buyers. "These will be converted into contracts once the funding has been sorted out.

"We are talking long term niche contracts. They need a specific grade of steel slab and they will lock in with us long term which will give us certainty."

Mr Johnson said Euroa was seeking expressions of interest from potential consortiums to carry out construction of the plant; which would then lead into maintenance contracts once the plant is running.

He said the plant would most likely be built in modules overseas and then constructed on site, in much the same way as the LNG plants were built.

The plant is expected to process five million tonnes of steel slab each year and, because of the development of technology in the steel making process it would possibly be capable of producing six million tonnes annually.



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