New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS), Rio Tinto’s wholly-owned subsidiary states the aluminium market has improved in 2021 after a challenging 2020. The company reported a loss of NZ$100mn ($72.54mn) according to a statement released on May 31.
In 2021, the aluminium market showed significant improvement. Furthermore, the new electricity agreement announced in January has enabled a sustainable expansion of New Zealand’s only aluminium smelter, NZAS, the report said.
NZAS suffered production loss during the 2020 lockdown which restricted conversion of alumina into the aluminium after potline four was closed down. NZAS was pressured to shut down all its operations by August 2021 owing to the concerns of high energy and transmission costs.
Rio Tinto January reached a new electricity supply agreement with Meridian Energy, extending the life of its Tiwai Point aluminium smelter operated by NZAS to December 2021.
NZAS has an installed capacity to produce more than 350,000mt of aluminium per year.
Rip Tinto holds a 79.39pc stake in NZAS joint venture, the remaining stake is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Chemicals.