Tiwai Point smelter to close line

The aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point in Bluff. Photo: supplied
The aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point in Bluff. Photo: supplied
The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is to shut down one of its lines this week in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Operators New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) made the announcement today, attributing the change to the introduction of safer operating practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

NZAS chief executive and general manager Stewart Hamilton said the company had implemented several new controls on production lines that would lead to the staged closure of the Southland plant's Line 4 this week.

"We have worked very hard to segregate our teams and develop processes where people do not come into contact with each other during shift changes. Employees with underlying health issues are self-isolating and our non-operational employees are working from home.

"Given these measures and the current climate, we also need to stabilise our operation by reducing load. To do this, we will engage with Meridian to reduce the 50MW of electricity that supports Line 4."

The change would affect 35 staff, who would be redeployed to the company's other three lines during the closure.

"Given the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and the four-week lockdown in New Zealand, our focus is on supporting our employees in a time of uncertainty and running a safe and efficient operation to meet our obligations with customers and suppliers," Hamiton said.

-- Staff reporter

Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter