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Stew Hamilton, the chief executive officer (CEO) and general manager of Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, New Zeland’s Aluminium Smelter will leave the company in July for a new role in Mercury.


Hamilton has been with the company over the past 22 years and played important leadership roles throughout. Rio Tinto is now in search of a new CEO to overlook operations at the smelter and its eventual closure in 2024. The plant was scheduled for closure in August 2021, but the power contract has now been extended to 2024 with help from Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. 


According to media reports, the company has agreed with its vendor to lower power consumption by 30.5MW until the end of May because of lower hydropower reserves due to the lack of rain in New Zealand. The smelter consumes 13pc of the nation’s power. This is set to impact the rate of production, but the estimated impact is still unknown. 

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