Wednesday, 13 February 2013 12:52
The Northern Territory Government is celebrating Rio Tinto’s decision to keep its alumina refinery in Gove open.
Earlier this week the NT Government committed to supplying enough gas to keep the smelter and associated operations running for 10 years, allowing Rio to cut costs by switching from diesel power at the remote site.
Chief Minister, Terry Mills, said the government will finalise the necessary documents and formalise the arrangements for the release of gas as soon as possible.
“A $1.2billion project is now likely in the Northern Territory, made up of approximately $500million in infrastructure upgrades to allow Eni to flow gas from Blacktip to Gove, $200million for Pacific Aluminium to convert their generators to gas at the Gove refinery, and approximately $500million to construct the new pipeline," Mr Mills said.
“The Commonwealth Government has shown its support for the Northern Territory Government’s decision to release gas to Rio Tinto’s Pacific Aluminium.
“This signals the beginning of new opportunities for the Northern Territory with more than 700 new jobs to be created and a significant injection into the Territory economy.
“Today’s decision has secured the future of Gove and will allow its community to look-ahead with certainty.
“Last week’s meetings in London with Rio Tinto CEO, Sam Walsh, proved extremely valuable as I demonstrated my commitment to work with industry to grow the domestic gas market in the Northern Territory and nationally.
Rio Tinto quickly followed Mr Mills’ announcement with its own statement.
“Rio Tinto and Pacific Aluminium acknowledge the leadership and commitment of Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills and his cabinet to get gas to Gove and keep the refinery operating,” said Rio CEO Sam Walsh.
“We recognise that the Chief Minister needed to follow a rigorous process to consider the short and long-term issues for the Territory. We appreciate that an outcome balancing the needs of all stakeholders has been reached. It has been a complex issue to resolve but everyone involved has worked tirelessly to find a solution.
“Gas to Gove is not only important for the refinery and the community of Nhulunbuy, it is important to the entire Northern Territory. This project will double the size of the domestic gas market, drive further investment in gas exploration, increase long-term gas supply, attract new industries and create jobs for Territorians.”
Pacific Aluminium CEO Sandeep Biswas said there is still a great deal of work needed to deliver gas to Gove.
“Our next steps include finalising commercial arrangements for gas supply, securing gas pipeline financing support with the Federal Government, obtaining environmental and land access approvals, and developing detailed refinery conversion plans,” Mr Biswas said.
Pic: Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh.
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