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Clean green energy important to Rio Tinto

Hon David Parker
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

13 May 2008 Media Statement

Clean green energy important to Rio Tinto

The Labour-led government has already moved to address concerns over the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation raised by Rio Tinto today at select committee, Climate Change Minister David Parker said.

“Rio Tinto talked about competitiveness-at-risk issues with the ETS scheme ‘as currently drafted’. As is well known, the government is now proposing to delay the phase out of free allocation to trade-exposed industry to 2019, thus largely shielding those industries from such competition until then.

“In addition, we are proposing two five-yearly reviews of the planned allocation phase-out before then.

“Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is the largest single user of electricity in the country, and all of it is renewable, under a special deal they have with Meridian. They are only located in New Zealand because our electricity prices are competitive with those overseas.”

As we move to a carbon-constrained world, New Zealand’s clean green electricity increasingly provides companies like Rio Tinto with a comparative advantage, David Parker said.

“I note from Rio Tinto’s website the company is ‘reinventing the aluminium production process, with plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy per tonne of metal and shrink ecological footprints - while maintaining fierce price competitiveness against rising metals giants such as China and Russia’.

“I accept that Rio Tinto is serious about that statement, and will continue to want to take advantage of New Zealand’s clean green affordable renewable energy.

“I’d also point out that Rio Tinto and other major emitters want to minimise their emission costs and let the taxpayer pay them all.

“The balance being considered by the select committee and the government will take all of these issues into account.”

ENDS

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