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23/1/2019 — Other Minerals and Metals
Marginal increase in Tiwai Point output

There was a marginal lift in aluminium production at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter at Bluff in the December quarter.

Manager and 79.36% owner of the smelter, mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd, showed its equity production for the three months lifted to 67,000 tonnes, compared to the June quarter output of 66,000t.

The other partner in the smelter is Sumitomo Group of Japan.

The smelter, Rio Tinto’s only asset in New Zealand, should show increased output in the March, 2019 quarter following the re-opening of a potline at the smelter to cater for expanded output.

Tiwai Point is a significant contributor for Rio Tinto’s aluminium production that takes in six fully owned smelters and partially owned smelters in Canada, whole and partly owned operations in Australia and a 100% owned plant in Iceland and a 20% owned operation in Oman.

Group aluminium output for the December quarter for Rio lifted to 887,000 tonnes compared to September quarter’s 846,000t.

The quarter report said, however, that group aluminium production in calendar 2018 of 3.5 million tonnes was 3% lower than 2017 but it was in-line with guidance.

PDF File Rio Tinto quarterly report. (748.0 kilobytes)
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Inside the Tiwai Point smelter.