The Bell Bay aluminium smelter
is located on the Tamar River at Bell Bay
. The smelter has a production capacity of 178,000 tonnes of aluminium per year
It is owned and operated by Rio Tinto Aluminium
The Bell Bay smelter commenced production in 1955 as a joint venture between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments. The smelter was the first built in the Southern Hemisphere primarily to overcome difficulties importing aluminium during wartime. Bell Bay was chosen as the location because of the available hydroelectric power and deep water facilities. Rio Tinto Aluminium purchased the smelter in 1960, when production was about 12,000 tonnes per year.
The original potline (Line 1) used British Aluminium
Söderberg technology. It
was converted to use
prebake anodes in 1965 and shut down in 1981.
The smelter currently comprises three potlines of
P-57 reduction cells
Line 2 and Line 3 were built in the early 1960s. Line 4 was built
in two stages in the early 1980s.