While mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd was considered to have shelved ideas to sell whole or part of its Pacific Aluminium group, the newspaper The Australian reported on Monday that assets would be sold if the price was right.
Reporter Perry Williams quoted Pacific Aluminium chief Alf Barrios as saying “all of our sites are always up for sale at the right price, so I’m not speculating on what’s happening to our portfolio over time.”
The portfolio takes in New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) which has the Tiwai Point smelter at Bluff on New Zealand’s South Island, and smelters in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.
NZAS is owned 79.36% by Rio Tinto and 20.64% by Sumitomo of Japan.
Barrios reportedly told Williams: “I must say our smelters in Australia and NZ have been performing very well. If you look at the improvements over the last five years, it’s quite remarkable what the team have been able to achieve, and I’m sure they’ll continue with a strong performance in the years to come.”
The Australian said aluminium has been going through an inflection point in the past few years, with supply reforms in China reshaping the market towards a balance in the long term and opening up opportunities elsewhere in the world.
Barrios said there has been a shift towards responsibly-sourced aluminium which will also become more responsible among Rio’s customers as it works to meet demand from consumers for more sustainable supply.
A pact has just been signed by Rio with Nespresso to produce its coffee capsules by 2020.