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Global News
2020-10-20

Oct 20(LTIT) –Hopes gradually appear to grow for the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter to remain open for another three to five years. Expectations are increasing to keep Tiwai Aluminium smelter for longer However, the major stakeholder Rio Tinto declared in July’20 that it would shut down the Tiwai Aluminium smelter by August 2021 provided its high energy costs and a challenging outlook for the aluminium industry. The Southland leaders and present ruling Government have to fit in the shoes to try and keep Tiwai aluminium smelter open for a longer period, otherwise, 1000 jobs would be lost, another 1600 indirect jobs would be at risk and the economy would take a massive blow. Hopes are building for Tiwai Aluminium smelter A spokesman for finance minister Grant Robertson said: “This week a priority of the new Government was to reach an agreement with Rio Tinto that would result in the plant staying open for three to five more years so jobs could be preserved and a transition to other industries facilitated.” On 20th October’20, Rio Tinto has communicated that it wants to talk to the incoming Government with urgency – once the Government has been formed in coming weeks - so it can give certainty to its staff and the community about the plant's future before Christmas. Hopes are building towards Tiwai Aluminium plant Kellie Parker, Managing Director, Rio Tinto Pacific Operations said: “The Labour Party’s policy before the election recognised that Tiwai had been ‘unfairly overcharged’ for transmission costs for nearly a decade.” “That Labour policy had also made it clear that the newly elected Government would prefer Tiwai to remain operating for a long three to five year period, and that it would work to deliver a fairer transmission cost for the smelter”, Parker said. “We congratulate Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern on her party’s victory and look forward to discussing this with her team as a matter of urgency once the new Government is formed in a few weeks.” “We would like to be able to provide certainty for our team and our community before Christmas.” Hopes are building for Tiwai Aluminium smelter Neil McAra, President, Southland Chamber of Commerce, who has also been lobbying the Government, said he was “quietly optimistic” the smelter would remain operating for another three to five years. “It was in everyone’s best interests for the smelter to remain open and the Government had done its homework and realised it as well”, he said. “No one benefits from early closure. It’s not only jobs, but it’s also the $450m to the economy, the power would go nowhere, power prices would instantly go up ... the list goes on and on,” McAra said. “Now there’s a need to get on and put in place an agreement before Christmas that makes that possible.”

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