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Aust industry 'a bit of a tragedy': Gupta

Australia is not the industrial nation that it should be with the natural resources it possesses, the British billionaire industrialist who has rescued Australian steelmaker Arrium says.

But Sanjeev Gupta says he sees that "problem" as an opportunity.

Mr Gupta, who visited a OneSteel plant - part of his new enterprise - in western Sydney on Thursday, says Australia's natural assets attracted him to the nation.

His London-based GFG Alliance signed a binding agreement to buy Arrium earlier this month and he is now in Australia inspecting the facilities and meeting workers.

"Australia has an abundance of natural resources. It should be an industrial nation, its a bit of a tragedy that it's not," he told reporters at the Rooty Hill-based steel mill.

"That loss is also an opportunity, so we see that opportunity clearly.

"Instead of exporting raw materials like iron ore, like coal, like scrap, we'd like to see that turned into steel here and we would like to see our business here turn into a world class, world-scale, steel producer."

Mr Gupta said the other vertical elements of his business, such as power, aluminium, mining, financial services, logistics and infrastructure, will also play a role in its expansion in Australia.

"They all sort of come together as an ecosystem - they are all independent but they are part of an alliance which comes together to generate value overall," he said.

"So we will look to do the same as we've looked to have that in the UK."

Mr Gupta has been nicknamed the "man of steel" for his efforts turning around battling steel plants and saving jobs in the UK.

Mr Gupta said Arrium facilities such as those at Rooty Hill - which has 280 staff - would experience some changes under its new owners, but not a significant alteration in the structure of its labour force.

GFG Alliance signed a binding agreement earlier this month to buy Arrium for an undisclosed sum, with the deal expected to be finalised in August.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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