The power station will receive a $31m overhaul in July.
The power station will receive a $31m overhaul in July.

Boss 'sleeps with a very clear conscience' as workers axed

LEADERS at Boyne Smelter Limited and CS Energy still respect each other, after what became their most controversial negotiation for an electricity deal, yet.

Since mid-January the two parties, with CS Energy being one of the state's largest electricity generators, have worked to find middle ground to secure 15% of BSL's electricity usage.

But this week workers and locals heard the news they feared most, a deal couldn't be made, and production and jobs will be cut.

CS Energy non-executive chairman Jim Soorley said BSL general manager Joe Rea "went above and beyond" in his attempts to save jobs at BSL.

Since late 2015, 15% of the Rio Tinto owned site's electricity has been purchased of the "volatile" spot market.

"It's sad, I felt for Joe having to lay off people," Mr Soorley said.

"This was a very hard decision all round."

EXCLUSIVE | Mr Rea reveals Boyne Smelter will cut jobs

Mr Soorley would not respond when asked if BSL wanted CS Energy to offer a deal that would not gain them any profit.

"I'm not going to go into details, but we did our best ... I sleep with a very clear conscience," Mr Soorley said.

On January 19, BSL announced it was "uneconomic" to continue down the spot market path, meaning a deal would have to be made.

Since then a war of words erupted between BSL and the state's electricity generators, with Mr Rea claiming they were manipulating the spot market by holding back electricity.

But this week the tone softened, as the site's general manager said they negotiated in "good faith".

"I can't say enough how diligently and tirelessly people have worked to try to find a solution," Mr Rea said.

"A couple of times I felt we were very close (to securing a deal)."

The production curtailment will take their electricity usage to just over its supply deal with the Gladstone Power Station for 810MWh.

To cut production BSL will remove a total of 120 aluminium-producing cells.

Already 40 have been taken out of the production line.

AS IT HAPPENED | See how the Smelter's power crisis unfolded