The prospect of becoming Australia’s largest ghost town terrifies Whyalla, where residents ask why a nearby city received $385 million in government funds to keep a polluting lead smelter open.
Hours after administrators from Grant Thornton were appointed to oversee Arrium, acting Whyalla mayor Tom Antonio said there would be an economic “domino effect” if the steelworks and associated iron ore mine at Whyalla, about 380 kilometres from Adelaide, were closed.
The town sees a move like the injection from the South Australian government in several stages to keep a smelter at Port Pirie to the north of Adelaide open as its best chance of survival.
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Could Whyalla end up a ghost town? The steelworks is the lifeblood of the city of 22,000 people.