Rio Tinto’s New Zealand aluminium smelter (Nzas) at Tiwai suffered a loss of $46.2mn, despite posting a 3pc growth in annual production, at 351,000mt.
Higher energy, input and labour costs, and lower aluminium prices, resulted in the losses, a Rio Tinto statement claimed.
In the previous year, the facility produced 341,000mt of aluminium and posted a profit of $22mn.
On October 23, 2019, the company announced a strategic review of interest in the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in New Zealand.
The review was to determine the operation’s ongoing viability and competitive position in the country. The review, with all options, including curtailment and closure, on the table, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
Also, the smelter’s primary power supplier, Meridian, as well as Contact Energy, have been talking to Nzas about lower power transmission prices, so as to continue operations at the facility.
Nzas produces high quality aluminium used in aircrafts and in cars.
It is a joint venture between Rio Tinto, with a 79.36pc share, and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical Company, that owns 20.64pc.