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Rio Tinto - NZAS reaches power deal to operate until 2024

RNS Number : 6214L
Rio Tinto PLC
14 January 2021
 

NZAS reaches deal with Meridian to extend operations to 2024

 

14 January 2021

 

Rio Tinto has reached an agreement on a new electricity agreement with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter until December 31, 2024. The extension provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future.

While discussions with the New Zealand government are progressing in relation to their commitment to address the smelter's high transmission costs, a new agreement has been reached with Meridian Energy in relation to power prices, making the smelter economically viable and competitive over the next four years. 

 

The extension also provides time for detailed closure studies to be completed and for NZAS to support the government and Southland community in planning for the future. Plans for eventual closure of the Tiwai Point smelter will include extensive stakeholder consultation, including within the Southland community and reflect the company's robust closure and remediation standards.


Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Meridian Energy that will enable the Tiwai Point smelter to continue producing some of the lowest carbon aluminium in the world. This agreement improves Tiwai Point's competitive position and secures the extension of operation to December 2024. It also provides Rio Tinto, the New Zealand government, Meridian, and the Southland community more time to plan for the future and importantly gives our hard-working team at Tiwai and our customers the certainty they deserve."

In July 2020, Rio Tinto announced the conclusion of a strategic review of the smelter and a decision to wind down operations by August 2021 due to high energy and transmission costs.  

NZAS is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (79.36%) and Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited (20.64%). It employs around 1000 people directly and creates a further 1600 indirect jobs in Southland. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Contacts

 

media.enquiries@riotinto.com 

riotinto.com 

  Follow @RioTinto on Twitter

 

External Relations, NZAS

Jennifer Nolan

T +64 4 916 1496
M +64 21 381 981

 

Media Relations, United Kingdom

Illtud Harri

M +44 7920 503 600

 

David Outhwaite

T +44 20 7781 1623

M +44 7787 597 493

 

Media Relations, Americas

Matthew Klar

T +1 514 608 4429

 

Media Relations, Asia

Grant Donald

T +65 6679 9290

M +65 9722 6028

 


Media Relations, Australia

Jonathan Rose

T +61 3 9283 3088

M +61 447 028 913

 

Matt Chambers

T +61 3 9283 3087

M +61 433 525 739

 

Jesse Riseborough

T +61 8 6211 6013

M +61 436 653 412

Media Relations, New Zealand

Jen Nolan
+64 21 381 981

 

Investor Relations, United Kingdom

Menno Sanderse
T: +44 20 7781 1517
M: +44 7825 195 178

 

David Ovington

T +44 20 7781 2051

M +44 7920 010 978

 

Clare Peever
M: +44 7788 967 877

 

 

 

Investor Relations, Australia

Natalie Worley

T +61 3 9283 3063

M +61 409 210 462

 

Amar Jambaa

T +61 3 9283 3627
M +61 472 865 948

 

Rio Tinto plc

6 St James's Square

London SW1Y 4AD

United Kingdom

T +44 20 7781 2000

Registered in England

No. 719885

 

Rio Tinto Limited

Level 7, 360 Collins Street

Melbourne 3000

Australia

T +61 3 9283 3333

Registered in Australia

ABN 96 004 458 404

 

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Rio Tinto's Group Company Secretary.

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