Rio Tinto has reached an agreement with Meridian Energy on electricity prices to extend the life of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in New Zealand.
Rio Tinto said in a statement on Thursday that the smelter on New Zealand's southern South Island would be closed in December 2024 instead of August this year. Discussions are still under way with the Government of New Zealand on the cost of transmission and the final outcome of the site of the smelter.
The smelter is by far New Zealand's largest electricity user, accounting for about 13% of the country's electricity demand. Rio Tinto, a major shareholder, said in July 2020 that the smelter was no longer viable because of high energy costs and challenging prospects for the aluminium industry, and issued a notice demanding that the contract with Meridian, the power generator, be terminated.