SOUTH Australia’s steel saviour Sanjeev Gupta is circling the local aluminium assets of mining giant Rio Tinto.
While a spokeswoman for his GFG Alliance declined to comment on the British industrial group’s push to purchase Rio’s Pacific Aluminium business, it is understood Mr Gupta will make site visits this week.
The PA portfolio includes stakes in the Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania and the Boyne aluminium smelter at Gladstone, as well as a coal-fired power station in Gladstone.
In an August interview with The Advertiser, Mr Gupta said: “There are acquisition opportunities in Australia across many areas — mining, other metals, power, all our sectors basically — so we’re looking at capture all of these.”
Soon after GFG snapped up a majority stake in local company ZEN Energy as part of an effort to in a bid to “dramatically reduce the cost of dispatchable power’’.
“The high cost of energy for Australian consumers is debilitating for the economy and a crying shame for a country so rich in resources,’’ Mr Gupta said at the time.
That acquisition followed Mr Gupta taking ownership of Arrium and its Whyalla steelworks — which he immediately renamed to Liberty OneSteel.
Meanwhile, Rio yesterday lifted iron ore shipments by slightly more than expected in the third quarter, helped by improved rail capacity and performance at its Pilbara operations. The world’s second-largest iron ore exporter — after Brazil’s Vale — shipped 85.8 million tonnes of iron ore in the September quarter, up 6 per cent from a year ago.
Originally published as Whyalla steelworks buyer on the acquisition trail — again