The loss-making Gove aluminium refinery and bauxite mine in Nhulunbury, Arnhem Land, will not be getting a gas supply.
The Northern Territory’s chief minister, Terry Mills, was told yesterday by Santos, Eni and GDF that their gas projects off the NT’s west coast needed to be able to export their gas to be successful. A gas supply for Gove is crucial to help the plant, which operates at a $30 million loss each month, run more cheaply.
"Gas is not available for Gove," the NT News reports the energy executives as saying. Santos has, however, offered to supply gas from its Mereenie Field operation in central Australia.
Mills will now rely on federal assistance to try and secure gas for the refinery.
"Discussions today now cause us to look at Commowelath incentivisation for those that have gas available, but not able to be secured in the Northern Territory," the chief minister told Channel Nine.
The survival of the aluminium refinery, owned by Rio Tinto subsidiary Pacific Aluminium, was the subject of a rally attended by 800 people earlier this week. The Gove plant employs approximately 1200 of Nhulunbuy’s 4000 residents.
The Australian Financial Review reports that Pacific’s CEO Sandeep Biswas was expected to address Rio’s board in London yesterday regarding a strategic review of Gove, though a decision on its future won’t be announced for at least a week.