On November 29, Rio Tinto announced that it would suspend production of alumina at its Gove refinery. It was hardly a surprise; the smelting plant was reputed to be losing Rio Tinto $20 million to $30 million per month and closure was based on the company’s commercial accountability to its shareholders. It had become increasingly clear that even with access to cheap gas to offset the burden of dependence on heavy fuel oil the Gove operation was commercially unsustainable.
Rio Tinto’s Gove plant never delivered on indigenous hopes
Rio Tinto will close its Gove smelting plant, which is not necessarily a bad outcome for the Yolngu people. ANU professor Jon Altman says employment opportunities are better sought elsewhere.