Around 100 people attended the Southland Chamber of Commerce’s Fight for Fairness event in Invercargill on Thursday evening, aimed at showing the impact the aluminium smelter’s closure would have on the community.
The discussion was hosted by Fight for Fairness campaign organiser Carla Forbes, and attended by Rio Tinto external relations director Jen Nolan, Smelter chief executive Stew Hamilton, and Southland Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Neil McAra.
Even though only 100 people attended, the smelter’s closure at Tiwai Point would affect thousands of families across Southland.
The primary reason for Rio Tinto’s review of the smelter was its transmission costs. The company was paying between $60 million and $70 million and used around 12 percent of the country’s power. Their share of the transmission costs, they said, was not reflective of their use.
Smelter chief executive Stew Hamilton said their request was fair.
“Rio Tinto are not looking for a handout, but fair pricing on transmissions costs.”
Around 5,500 people had signed an online petition to keep the smelter open, but Rio Tinto is yet to come to a decision about its closure.
Watch the video of the meeting.