CORRIMAL Cokeworks is to continue at full production and will not close.
Illawarra Coke Company (ICC) spokesperson Wendy Jack said that the Bulli Times story of December 12 had come to the attention of the company through remarks made within the community and concern amongst small users that they may no longer be able to get supplies.
ICC said that while Coalcliff will close due to the prolonged weakness in the world coke export market, Corrimal will remain operating.
ICC Managing Director, Rex Wright said operations would cease at the Coalcliff site from mid-2013 as a combination of factors make operating two cokeworks in the current market conditions unsustainable.
“In the last two years ICC have been battling to withstand the negative combination of the effects of the European economic crisis on the steelmaking industry which has led to an oversupply of coke worldwide as well as substantially reduced demand,” he said.
“Other factors are the persistently high Australian dollar, and closer to home, the continuing closure of domestic customers as well as the direct and indirect cost of the carbon tax.
“The workforces at both cokeworks have been aware for some time of the impact the market pressures have been placing on maintaining coke production at normal levels. They have been kept informed of the Boards’ progress towards making a decision in the best interests of the business by the end of 2012.
“Both cokeworks will continue at full production until the middle of 2013 to fulfil customer orders and to ensure an orderly and programmed closure of the Coalcliff plant,” Mr Wright said.
ICC currently has 47 full-time employees operating its two cokeworks. With the permanent closure of Coalcliff Cokeworks the number of employees will be reduced by approximately half with all entitlements and redundancies to be paid in full.