Mining giant Rio Tinto shuts aluminium factory in New Zealand amid high energy costs

The mining giant says it could not ‘secure a power price reduction aimed at making New Zealand Aluminium Smelters a financially viable business’

Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced it will close its aluminium smelter facility in New Zealand as a result of high energy costs and other industry challenges.

The move is expected to lead to 1,000 job losses.

The firm says the factory has created a loss of NZ$46 million (£23.9m) in 2019 to the group making it economically impracticable to continue its operations.

Rio Tinto said it will wind down operations in the coming months with the closure of the plant being already scheduled for the August of 2021.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive Alf Barrios said: “It is not a decision we have made lightly and without significant careful consideration. It is very unfortunate we could not find a solution with our partners to secure a power price reduction aimed at making New Zealand Aluminium Smelters a financially viable business.

“We will therefore terminate the power contract and move to close the operation.”

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