The Port Kembla stack could be turned into a icon like the Eiffel Tower, according to the founder of a group investigating alternative uses for the structure.
Port Kembla Copper wants to demolish the well-known structure but Geoff Stuart believes it can be a tourist attraction.
The Sydney-based man has a soft spot for the stack - he owns a property nearby in Wentworth Street.
He has started Stack 360, a company which is looking into other uses, including as a viewing platform.
Work is in the early phases with a study underway to work out what options are available.
"The thinking and feasibility study is based around what can we make the stack into that makes it highly attractive for tourists ," Mr Stuart said.
Admitting they were working against the clock with the stack planned for demolition, Mr Stuart said it was such a well-known icon for the region, its removal would be a tragedy.
"Paris without the Eiffel Tower wouldn't be the same," he said.
"Each city in the world has something significant. If you go to New York you see the Statue of Liberty - and people like to go to high places."
So the stack could be the Eiffel Tower of Port Kembla?
"I think that's a fair assessment, yes," he said.
"Everyone in the Illawarra knows the stack, it's referred to as 'the stack'. They get their bearings based on where the stack is located.
"It stands out so well. If we can actually make it into a tourist destination - putting a lift in, putting a platform on top - we hope that we can do it.
"But there's all the engineering feasibility of that to make sure we can do it and do it safely."
His work has drawn the attention of Throsby MP Stephen Jones, who has started an online petition to save the stack.
"If it can be retained and converted into a cultural and tourist use I think it would be fantastic for Port Kembla," Mr Jones said.
"I've organised one meeting between the proponents of the project and government ministers' office and I'm encouraging them to work up their proposal so it's in a form where we might be able to attract both public and private investment."