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  • Rio Tinto will conduct a strategic review of its interest in New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter
  • The aluminium industry is struggling with historically low prices due to an oversupplied market
  • The review will consider all options for the future of smelter, including the option of closure
  • On market close, Rio Tinto is up 0.41 per cent and is selling shares for $89.80 apiece

Rio Tinto will conduct a strategic review of its interest in New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter.

The review will consider all options for the future of smelter, including the option of closure.

“Under the current market conditions and with high energy costs, we expect the short to the medium outlook for the aluminium industry to be challenging and this asset to continue to be unprofitable,” Rio Tinto said.

The mining giant, says it will hold discussions with the Government of New Zealand and energy providers to explore options and identify economically solutions to find a pathway to profitability for the asset.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive Alf Barrios says the aluminium industry is struggling with historically low prices due to an over-supplied market.

“This means that many aluminium providers are reviewing their positions,” Alf said.

“Rio Tinto will work with all stakeholders including the government, suppliers, communities and employees in order to find a solution that will ensure a profitable future for this plant,” he said.

NZAS is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (79.36 per cent) and Sumitomo Chemical Company (20.64 per cent). It employs around 1000 people.

The company aims to complete the review by the first quarter in 2020.

On market close, Rio Tinto is up 0.41 per cent and is selling shares for $89.80 apiece.

MEZ by the numbers
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