Paul Sundstrom, director Gladstone Steel Project
Paul Sundstrom, director Gladstone Steel Project Luka Kauzlaric

Meet the man leading the charge to save Boulder Steel

ENGINEER Paul Sundstrom is co-ordinating a rescue plan to help save the Boulder Steel project planned for Gladstone, and is calling on the community to help.

Mr Sundstrom has lived in the Gladstone community for more than 30 years, as a mechanical design engineer specialising in creative design solutions and problem solving.

His involvement with Boulder Steel began as a shareholder, but went above and beyond as he is now heavily involved, with others, in an attempt to rescue the Gladstone Steel Plant project for the region.

Community offered chance to be part of Boulder Steel

The community is being offered the opportunity to become part of the $4.4 billion Boulder Steel project - in more ways than one.

Once the project begins, local engineering contractors will be invited to perform the work on a sophisticated cost-plus system, which will ensure the project is locally driven.

However, to get the project off the ground, the rescue team is also looking for mum and dad contributions that could benefit from substantial returns in the short term.

If the project goes ahead, it has the potential to bring 1800 jobs to the Gladstone region, besides many other contractors to service the plant once it is running.

Mr Sundstrom said if sufficient money were raised, the community would end up "owning" Boulder Steel and controlling it, similar to the Bendigo Bank community branch structures.

"The new shares being offered to the community are Class 1 voting shares, which will give it this control," he said.

Mr Sundstrom got on board after becoming concerned about the delays that pushed back the critical environmental impact study by 12 months, resulting in Boulder entering voluntary administration this year.

"As time was of the essence and I was the only one with a corporate structure (a requirement to lodge a Deed of Company Arrangement), I offered the use of my company Tasman Engineering Services Pty Ltd to enable us, together with our plan, to save the project," he said.

"I have never had any interest in owning or controlling Boulder, but I would however like to be a director for a period until the project is completed."

Mr Sundstrom's background includes working with the Gladstone Port Authority to develop a range of new bulk materials handling equipment.