Tiwai To Restart 4th Potline Creating Up To 32 Jobs

May 01, 2018
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New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) has secured a power contract for 50 MW to enable it to restart its fourth potline which was mothballed six years ago.

“This is a great day and news I am thrilled to be able to announce,” says NZAS Chief Executive and General Manager Gretta Stephens. “Restarting Line 4 will create up to 32 skilled jobs in Southland, as well as boosting production by a further 85 tonnes of metal a day.”

Opened in 1996 by then Prime Minister Jim Bolger, the fourth potline was built with a view to expansion down the line; however, in April 2012 with historically low aluminium prices and a looming increase in power prices, the very difficult decision was made to shut Line 4 down.

“It is never good to have a cold potline at a smelter as it represents a capital investment that isn’t contributing to our economy and our community,” says Ms Stephens. Prices for aluminium have begun to recover and following extensive negotiation with Meridian Energy agreement has been reached for a contract until December 2022.

“NZAS makes aluminium with one of the lowest carbon footprints of a smelter anywhere in the world. Aluminium is the fastest growing input in the automotive industry as manufacturers seek greater fuel efficiency,” says Ms Stephens.

“NZAS is well placed to offer metal that is increasingly sought after in a low carbon global economy.” It is expected to take up to six months before Line 4 is fully operational and will begin with a planning, equipment sourcing and recruitment phase.

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