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Federal budget to include $50 million in support for Nyrstar’s Hobart Zinc Works

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The federal government has confirmed $50 million in funding to assist Nyrstar with a major $400 million upgrade at its Tasmanian zinc smelter, to be delivered in Tuesday’s budget.

Federal assistance of that value for the smelter was announced by the previous federal government before its election loss, along with $20 million in Tasmanian government funding, in late-April this year.

Construction of a new electrolysis plant the century-old Zinc Works at Hobart is expected to begin in late-2022, securing 650 jobs at the site, further roles at Nyrstar’s Port Pirie operations, and 5000 people in direct supply chain companies in Tasmania and regional South Australia, according to Nyrstar.

“This investment will help strengthen Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability of valuable metals necessary to our transition to net zero by 2050,” said federal industry minister Ed Husic in a statement on Sunday.

“We want to build a stronger and more resilient future and that includes adding value at home, delivering secure well-paid jobs and skilling up for the technologies of the future.

“Our investment in Nyrstar is one part of building that capability, with more to come through our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.”

The upgrade is expected to take 28 months.

“Today’s announcement by the Federal Government demonstrates again the value of what we do in Australia and the importance of this new Electrolysis Plant to our sector and Tasmania,” said Nyrstar Australia’s Vice-President Dale Webb.

“This ensures that the next generation of employees and businesses in Tasmania will continue to play an important role in the manufacturing of zinc, a mineral critical for the transition to a low carbon world.

Zinc is used in many applications, including increasing the lifespan of steel products, in batteries, and in solar cells.

According to its website, the Hobart smelter is one of the world’s biggest by production volume, and its key products are “SHG zinc, die cast alloys (branded ‘EZDA’) and CGG (continuous galvanising grade) alloys”.

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