Tiwai Point lies at the entrance to Bluff Harbour on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. A spit which extends from the western end of the Awarua Plain, it lies between Awarua Bay to the north and Foveaux Strait to the south. It is famous for the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, one of the largest industrial facilities in New Zealand.
Tiwai Point is the location of an aluminium smelter which was opened in 1971. It is one of the 20 largest aluminium smelters of the world and currently provides NZ$3.65 billion worth of economic benefit to the New Zealand economy. It produces the world's highest purity primary (i.e. directly refined made from alumina ore) aluminium. The ore is mostly imported from Australia, while the finished product mostly goes to Japan. Facility
The smelter currently consists of 3 lines of P69 technology cells, with 208 cells each (i.e. 624 total), and one line of 48 CD200 technology cells. Approximately 800 full time personnel are employed, and up to ~ 130 additional contractors. Current metal production is ~ 330 kilotonnes per annum. The third P69 Line was buit in the early 1980s as part of the Muldoon government Think Big project.Electricity
The smelter uses ~610MW of electricity, which is largely supplied by the Lake Manapouri power station, which due to its perceived reliability played a major role in the choice of building the aluminium smelter in Southland, with both the power plant and the smelter having been constructed as a joint project. The facility is the largest electricity consumer in New Zealand, and uses approximately 15% of the total power countrywide. The process also emits large amounts of greenhouse gases, though the smelter is hailed as being amongst the Top 5% of all aluminium smelters worldwide in terms of limiting its emissions.Ownership
Case Study : Mining the Depths - From Australia to Invercargill ; Helen Tatham visits New Zealand Aluminium Smelters' Tiwai Point and meets some offshore imports who are happy to hone their craft in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
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