Nyrstar has announced it will expand production into rare Earth metals for electronic devices at its Lutana smelter site, a move that will secure 600 direct jobs and another 3,500 indirect in the Tasmanian economy.

A funding agreement signed with the Tasmanian Government will secure Nyrstar’s future in Tasmania and allow Nyrstar to invest $52 million to expand its wharf capacity to comply with Australian Standards for a Class 25 wharf.

Nyrstar Hobart plant manager Richard Curtis said the agreement comprises four transformational projects designed to expand the plant’s capacity.

Nyrstar at night - Courtesy of Nyrstar.tif

Nyrstar at night – Courtesy of Nyrstar

“This development will allow us to treat a wide range of metals that will enhance the site’s operational integration with Nyrstar Port Pirie, as well as the company’s global processing network,” Mr Curtis said.

“This will see a shift in focus to indium and germanium, which are the metals of the future.”

In addition to the redevelopment, the government and Nyrstar will jointly fund a $10 million project aimed at groundwater remediation to reduce Nyrstar’s impact on the environment.

Nyrstar will borrow $29 million with the government as guarantor, giving them until February 2019 to pay.

Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom described Nyrstar’s contribution to Tasmania’s economy and export capacity as vital.

“It is estimated around $800 million and 24 per cent of Tasmania’s total export value comes directly from Nyrstar, with an annual contribution to the Hobart economy through wages paid to employees and contractors as high as $70 million,” Mr Groom said.

“Commitment to the Hobart smelter is a vote in confidence in Tasmania and shows that industry and manufacturing have a strong future in the state.

Nyrstar’s senior vice-president Michael Morley travelled from their corporate office in Switzerland for the announcement, highlighting its importance for the organisation.

“If we could not have made these investments in Hobart, the future of Hobart would be lot more uncertain,” Mr Morley said.