Local MP Eddie Hughes said the latest development “only adds to the uncertainty at Whyalla” and 2,000 workers at the steel mill.
“This is the only metallurgical plant in the country that produces structural steel and rail and is therefore an integral part of our sovereign manufacturing facility,” said Mr. Hughes.
Investigation “disappointed” workers
Peter Lamps, branch secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, SA, was “quite disappointed with the news overnight from the United Kingdom.”
“Throughout this process, we have repeatedly said that it will take weeks, if not months, not days to resolve this issue,” said Mr. Lamps.
“Despite the disappointment… our members have known for some time that this is a long process and they continue to produce steel, as they have throughout the entire process.”
He said that “after days and weeks” the union remains confident that the funding will be sorted out and Whyalla will get more clarity.
Meanwhile, South Australian Attorney General Vicky Chapman said that while everything was “business as usual” in Whyalla, Mr. Gupta’s “significant” investment in the state means “these are issues we are always monitoring.”
“The people who run multinational companies, have networks and investments around the world, are subject to the integrity authorities of all the countries in which they operate,” said Ms. Chapman.
She said that this is a case of the British authorities and that no such investigation is being carried out in Australia.
She said that while Mr. Gupta owned the steel mill, it was restructured and “greatly improved its profitability.”
The council “continues to receive assurances,” the mayor said.
In a statement, Mayor of Whyalla, Claire McLaughlin, said the council could not comment on any investigations “on the other side of the world.”
However, she said the board continues to receive assurances from the GFG Alliance that it is making progress in refinancing its operations, including in Whyalla, with the support of potential Australian refinancing partner White Oak Global Advisors.
White Oak said yesterday it would not continue refinancing while the investigation continues, but today said it is continuing its efforts to refinance Liberty Primary Metals’ debt, subject to financial due diligence and sound governance.
“We continue to strive to provide capital for good companies in critical industries while maintaining jobs,” the spokesperson said.
In response to ABC’s request for comment, a GFG spokesman said today that the company “continues to work with White Oak to refinance Liberty Primary Metals Australia.”
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