Liberty Primary Steel – part of Sanjeev Gupta’s British-owned GFG Alliance – has announced what it describes as 'significant steps towards the transformation of its iconic Whyalla steelworks' in South Australia.

Contracts have been signed for investments worth more than £340m, representing a significant portion of the overall transformation cost for the plant, says Liberty.

In a major move forward, two contracts were signed on 10 December for the design of equipment and construction with contracting partners Danieli and CISDI Engineering Company. The former will be working on a new and state-of-the-art rail and structural heavy section mill, while the latter will be focused on a pulverised coal injection (PCI) plant.

Mr Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance, commented: “This transformation will vastly improve the operational, financial and environmental performance of the plant, paving the way for Whyalla to become an enticing, global hub for innovative industry."

He said that the announcement signified a major milestone in Whyalla’s transformation 'that will establish it as a viable and sustainable facility, producing 1.8Mt/yr of high-quality, high‐end steel', and added that the new equipment would increase production, reduce costs and introduce a new product range at the plant, which would open up new markets and customers.

According to Gupta, the investments would be financed through a combination of funding sources – including GFG’s own resources and vendor finance – and would be supported by the South Australian and Federal Governments.

The current transformation plan for Whyalla would move the business towards its longer-term vision to create a ‘Next‐Gen’ mega steel plant there which would become a global flagship plant, using advanced technologies to produce a wide range of steel products for growing markets internationally.