Local engineers mount bid to rescue $4b Boulder project

A RESCUE team of local engineering companies is seeking to give a second wind to the $4 billion Boulder Steel project near Mount Larcom, and secure work on the plant, by rescuing the company from administration.

Boulder was placed into administration after running out of cash, with creditors chasing money from the company.

The project in its current proposed form would create 2000 construction jobs, with 1300 permanent workers during operations, and 500 contractors.

The steel plant is unique as portions of work would be set aside for local contractors, with five-year maintenance contracts attached to it.

To go ahead with the project, it would need a rescue package known as a "deed of company arrangement".

Enter the local rescue team, headed by Tasman Engineering Services and its general manager Paul Sundstrom.

"There's a strong element of altruism right through this whole exercise. It's a project that should happen, and needs to happen," Mr Sundstrom said.

Mr Sundstrom is currently trying to get a consortium of local engineering firms together to raise about $850,000 and head off a rival bid by Trident Capital.

There is renewed hope that creditors will accept the bid by local creditors, with new administrators Nicols + Brien showing "an open mind" towards the bid.

But first Mr Sundstrom has to convince any local engineering firms to free up cash for the bid.

At this stage it is believed that seven companies have expressed an interest in joining the consortium, but according to Mr Sundstrom it is early days yet.

"We've definitely had some strong interest, as this would essentially guarantee work for local companies on this massive project," Mr Sundstrom said.

"This is one way local business can become involved in this project, and make sure this project is done."


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