New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was welcomed to the official ceremony at NZAS with a traditional Māori welcome and a rousing haka performed by children from Bluff School. The Prime Minister was very touched by the welcome and so was Rio Tinto Aluminium chief operating officer Pacific Operations Kellie Parker and Chairperson of the NZAS Board, who said, “I was glad I didn’t have a seat facing the crowd because the kids’ welcome was so moving I had tears in my eyes.”
Kellie went on to say, “We are proud the Prime Minister has joined us to mark this important milestone for the team at Tiwai Point and the country’s manufacturing sector.
“Expanding the production capacity at NZAS will allow us to meet the demand from customers for the value added products made here.
“Restarting this potline will increase the smelter’s production capacity by around 10 per cent and, with increased orders for other products, has created 45 jobs.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged the importance of NZAS to the local Southland economy and to New Zealand’s international trading profile, saying, “Aluminium is a key commodity export for us and our export receipts are crucial to growing New Zealand’s economy, and the aluminium produced here is exported to some of our key trading partners ... and earns nearly $1.3 billion in export dollars.”
NZAS GM Stew Hamilton also announced that NZAS will in 2019 be seeking accreditation for its metal from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative or ASI.
“I am proud to announce that NZAS will soon undergo the rigorous Aluminium Stewardship Initiative certification process.
This will extend our leadership on responsible production by providing