Rio told to sell Gove aluminium plant

An internal review has recommended Rio Tinto close down its aluminium refinery in the Northern Territory over the next six to 12 months.

The Australian reports an investment review committee has recommended Rio immediately mothball the refinery near Gove, which will result in the loss of around 1500 jobs.

The aluminium plant is the NT's largest private enterprise, but Rio has warned it will have to close the loss-making plant unless the diesel power supply is replaced by cheaper natural gas.

Both Rio and State Government have worked on developing a rescue package for the plant but plans collapsed last week after gas developers said their resources needed to be exported in order to be successful.

The Australian reports NT Chief Minister Terry Mills said the State Government still had plans to save the refinery, and was meeting with federal Minister for Energy and Resources Martin Ferguson, Opposition leader Tony Abbott, and Opposition energy spokesperson Ian Macfarlane.