The death of Australian tin cans

Wednesday, 05 July, 2006

BlueScope steel has announced the closure of its tin mill at Port Kembla following a review of the operation that confirmed the business was no longer viable.

The tin plate is used to manufacture products such as cans and aerosols for food packaging and bakeware products.

"This business has been under attack on many fronts. Steel-making raw material costs have risen significantly making tinplate less competitive versus other packaging materials. We are also seeing a shift where consumers are purchasing more fresh foods at the expense of canned foods." said Brian Kruger, president of Australian Manufacturing Markets.

"At the same time, large retail grocers have increased their imports of low-cost canned food which has been pre-packaged offshore. Australian manufacturers just can't compete against grocers who import own-brand tinned foodstuffs in preference to Australian tinned produce," said Kruger.

"Raw material prices continue to rise and BlueScope Steel has been unable to recover these costs in the tinplate marketplace. This fact and a range of other negative market forces, has brought about the closure of Australia's only tin mill." Kirby Jones, CEO said.

The closure will result in the loss of about 250 positions in the tinplating operation.

Kruger said the tinplating and finishing operations would continue operating, until a closing date is determined following discussions with customers and suppliers.

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