ER & S

The Electrolytic Refining and Smelting Company of Australia (ER&S) was set up in 1905 to build the Port Kembla Copper Smelter. The company was owned by Mount Morgan Mining and Aaron Hirsch and Sohne, a German metallurgical company.

The construction of the plant’s fifteen large buildings commenced in Feb 1908 and the plant began smelting in 1909, processing copper ore, matte copper, blister copper, gold concentrates, gold and silver ores, and refined dore (gold and silver) bullion.

International copper prices were low in 1909 and ER&S struggled until the demand for copper for World War I munitions changed the company’s fortunes from 1915. At the same time, the company restructured to remove its German interest when the Attorney-General threatened to declare ER&S an enemy company.

Source and more info: Illawarra Heritage Trail website

Photo of The Electrolytic Refining and Smelting Company (c.1909) from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society. (P06454)