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Rio Tinto To Close New Zealand Aluminium Smelters; 1,000 Jobs Affected

Rio Tinto (RTPPF.PK,RIO.L,RIO,RTNTF.PK) said that it plans to wind-down and close operations of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters or NZAS, as the business is no longer viable given high energy costs and a challenging outlook for the aluminum industry.

As a result, New Zealand Aluminium Smelters has notified Meridian Energy to terminate the power contract, which will end in August 2021, when the wind-down of operations is expected to complete.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said, "We recognise the decision to wind-down operations at NZAS will have a significant impact on employees, the community and our customers."

NZAS is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (79.36%) and Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited (20.64%). It employs around 1000 people directly and creates a further 1600 indirect jobs in Southland.

During the next 14 months, NZAS and Rio Tinto will work closely with partners as detailed planning is undertaken to wind-down operations, and eventually close the smelter, Rio Tinto said in a statement.

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