Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Rio Tinto Rejects N.Z. Offer of Support for Smelter, Key Says

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group, majority owner of New Zealand’s only aluminum smelter, rejected an offer of a short-term government subsidy to keep the plant running.

“They came back at the weekend and said ‘no, we’re rejecting the government’s intervention’,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told TV3 today. “The government’s not going to change its position.”

Key’s government became involved after Rio unit Pacific Aluminium and electricity supplier Meridian Energy Ltd. were unable to agree on price terms for the smelter, located at Tiwai Point on the nation’s South Island. Rejection of offer stokes concern the plant may close, cutting jobs and curbing exports. Bruce Tobin, a Melbourne-based spokesman for Rio Tinto, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the rejection.

“We do think it made a bit of sense on balance to try to support the process, and that’s where we’ve been simply because of the number of jobs involved,” Key said. “In the end, that hasn’t been possible.”

Under the existing contract, Rio must operate the smelter until 2016 and then it can be progressively shutdown. It would be expensive for Rio to close it faster, Key said.

The government has “no interest in a long-term subsidy of the smelter,” he said. “If it can’t stand on its own feet, then long-term it shouldn’t be there.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Bourke at

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.