The Port Kembla Port Corporation had offered to buy the smelter site and gauge community sentiment about preserving the iconic stack, it was revealed yesterday.But negotiations between the port corporation and smelter owners Port Kembla Copper broke down over the sale price.The 21ha site backs onto Darcy Rd - only a stone's throw from the port's outer harbour, which has been earmarked for a $600 million expansion. "We have definitely expressed an interest and it's fair to say the site fits in under the major projects the NSW Government is considering (for the outer harbour)," port corporation CEO Dom Figliomeni told the Mercury yesterday.As well as price, another stumbling block was understood to be the perceived future risks associated with the site, despite the fact it had been remediated to the satisfaction of environmental authorities."Given the historic use of the site there will always be some residual risk," Mr Figliomeni said.He said keeping the stack may have been an option under the original proposal to buy the smelter site."When we first looked at the site, part of our proposal was to effectively consider it on the basis that the community would want the stack to remain in situ."We were looking at keeping it in the context of what the stack meant to the community because we didn't adopt a for-or-against view in relation to the stack. "However, it is their site and they can do with it as they please," he said.Port Kembla Copper general manager Ian Wilson said: "Our shareholders have a very strong commitment to the future and recognise there are potential liabilities associated with this site and the way they can exercise their existing rights is to place, if necessary, caveats and restrictions on what the site can be used for."We think a port-related redevelopment would be appropriate for the site, appropriate for the community and consistent with government projections and targets. Our company recognises the port corporation may have a significant interest in the site and it is quite happy to discuss the issue as the timing becomes appropriate," Mr Wilson said.