This Morning in Metals: Rio Tinto, Meridian Energy reach deal on Tiwai Point aluminum smelter

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Aluminum production

Alexander Chudaev/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto and Meridian Energy have reached a deal that will allow New Zealand’s Aluminum Smelter to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter; BHP unveiled plans to build a new wind fence; and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts U.S. oil and natural gas production will fall this year.

Rio Tinto, Meridian Energy reach deal on Tiwai Point aluminum smelter

Miner Rio Tinto announced it had reached a deal with Meridian Energy that will allow New Zealand’s Aluminum Smelter to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter until 2024.

“The extension provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future,” Rio Tinto said in a release.

The agreement with Meridian helps make the smelter “economically viable and competitive,” Rio Tinto added.

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BHP plans to build wind fence

On Thursday, BHP announced plans to build a wind fence as part of its Pilbara Air Quality Program.

“We recognise we have a shared responsibility to address dust issues at Port Hedland,” said Nilson Davila, BHP port general manager. “The wind fence will be constructed using global best practice dust management and air quality control technology.”

Oil, natural gas output to fall this year

In other energy news, the EIA forecast U.S. oil and natural gas output will fall this year.

The EIA forecast crude oil production will fall by 0.2 million barrels per day this year to 11.1 million barrels per day.

Meanwhile, after falling by 2% last year, natural gas production will fall by another 2% in 2021. Output is expected to drop to 95.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) this year.

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