Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:27
The Northern Territory Government has said a deal “is on the table” over a gas pipeline to Gove which is essential for the future plans of an aluminium refinery in the town.
Chief Minister Terry Mills said securing the continuing production of Rio Tinto and Pacific Aluminium’s Gove refinery was of upmost importance, not just for the nearby town of Nhulunbuy which relies on the project, but also for the whole of the Northern Territory.
“My government has been working around the clock with the Commonwealth Government, Rio Tinto, Eni Australia and other gas suppliers over the past few months to ensure the Gove refinery remains open for business,” Mr Mills said.
“We believe there is now a deal on the table that can provide the people of Gove with that certainty.
“Today, I have written to Pacific Aluminium and parent company Rio Tinto, Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, and Eni Australia and advised them that, following a cabinet meeting this morning, the Northern Territory Government is prepared to facilitate the release of a volume of gas from Power and Water Corporation’s current contract with Eni for use by Rio Tinto at the Gove refinery provided a replacement supply is found.
“While Rio Tinto has set 31 January as a deadline on the future of the Gove refinery, we believe more time is needed to ensure that a replacement gas supply is found and the Northern Territory’s electricity supply is not put at risk.”
Mr Mills said the NT Government will release gas when the Commonwealth Government approves financing of the Gove pipeline and when a replacement gas supply has been secured.
“I am confident that if Rio Tinto and Eni are willing to continue to work together in good faith to reduce the risks to the Northern Territory, an aggregated gas supply solution can be found by 30 September 2013,” Mr Mills said.
“Today, I now call on Rio Tinto to continue to operate the Gove Refinery while this search for a replacement gas supply occurs.”
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