Smelter marks production milestone

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied
Fourteen millions tonnes of aluminium produced at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter was marked on Thursday, described as a significant milestone for the company and its workers.

Rio Tinto external affairs director Simon King said it took eight years for the company to produce its first million tonnes by October 1979, but the smelter gradually got quicker — the next million took just under six years.

To mark the production of the 14th million tonne, New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) gathered experienced casting and logistics team members — (from left) Dave Cloake, Dave Saunders, Alan Broomhill, Gary Buchanan and Brent McQuinn — who have 203 years’ experience between them at Tiwai.

Every 24 hours, 1.5 tonnes is produced from each cell of four production lines.

The Bluff-based smelter is one of the few smelters in the world to produce ultra-high-purity aluminium using renewable energy.