Production from the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in the September quarter at 67,000 tonnes was comparable to the previous two quarters.
Planning is underway to reactivate a potline that will lead to greater production next year by New Zealand Associated Smelters (NZAS), owned 79% by Rio Tinto Ltd.
In the September quarter Rio Tinto’s global aluminium production was about 900,000 tonnes which it said was lower than the September 2017 quarter, primarily due to ongoing labour disruptions at the “non-managed” Becancour smelter in Canada.
Full year has been revised down slightly to between 3.4-3.5 million tonnes.
In a recent roadshow presentation on aluminium in London, Rio Tinto’s aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said the company saw demand growth of about 3.2% per annum.
He said China shows determination to curb over-capacity and reduce pollution. A total of 3.8 million tonnes per annum of illegal capacity was removed in 2017.