Australia Markets closed

About 250 jobs to go at Whyalla steelworks


Hundreds of jobs are to go in mining and steel manufacturing in South Australia as global pressures continue to hurt local producers.

Steelmaker Arrium will cut 250 jobs at its Whyalla operations over the next six to eight months and Alinta Energy will close its Leigh Creek coal mine on Tuesday, with the loss of about 200 positions as it ends 100 years of production.

Premier Jay Weatherill says global factors are largely to blame and the state government will do what it can to support workers.

"But for many families this will be a very difficult time," the premier told reporters on Monday.

Mr Weatherill said SA was yet to feel the impact of the closure of car maker Holden in 2017 and must work harder to create more jobs to offset the loss of "old economy" manufacturing positions.

"There is absolutely no doubt we have a massive hill to climb in South Australia," he said.

The latest job losses at Arrium bring the total cut by the company at Whyalla this year close to 900.

It says all workers affected will receive their full entitlements, including redundancy payments and other services, including counselling and help to find new work.

The cuts bring the company's identified savings to $60 million, still about $40 million short of its target.

Chief executive of steel Steve Hamer said Arrium remained focused on reaching its savings target as quickly as possible and certainly by June next year.

"We remain committed to delivering a viable and competitive Whyalla business which benefits our stakeholders, including our local community and state," Mr Hamer said.

South Australian Opposition leader Steven Marshall described the job losses at Arrium as devastating and has launched his own plan to create thousands of jobs.

He says the government should cut business taxes, invest in infrastructure projects and provide cost-of-living relief to families.

He's also called on the government to double the budget to fix black-spots on the state's roads and to double the volume of recycled water available to the local horticulture industry to boost production.