NZAS is New Zealand’s only aluminium smelter. It is located on Tiwai Peninsula, across the harbour from the community of Bluff in Southland.
NZAS is 79.36 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 20.64 per cent owned by Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company. NZAS is a tolling plant, producing primary aluminium in the form of ingot, billet, and rolling block. The smelter's alumina is supplied from refineries in Queensland and Western Australia. Approximately 90 per cent of the aluminium produced at NZAS is exported.
In the 1960s, Tiwai Point was chosen as the location for an aluminium smelter for a number of reasons. Aluminium smelting requires a large and very reliable power source to continually supply electricity to reduction cells, and Tiwai Point's proximity to the then proposed Manapouri Power Station made it an attractive location. In addition, Tiwai Point was close to the deep sea port of Bluff and the well established infrastructure of the City of Invercargill. The smelter commenced operations in 1971.
NZAS contributes $406 million to the Southland economy (6.5 per cent of Southland's GDP) with export revenue of around $1 billion each year. Approximately 990 full time equivalent employees and contractors work at the smelter.
NZAS is proud to have its metal marketed under Rio Tinto's RenewAl brand. As the world moves towards a lower carbon future the RenewAl brand can help NZAS take advantage of growing demand for high-quality aluminium to be used in more sustainable, low carbon products.
Operation commenced production
Sumitomo Chemical Co.