New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited

Tiwai Point, Southland, New Zealand

New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter Limited (NZAS) is New Zealand's only aluminium smelter and is located on Tiwai Peninsula, across the harbour from Bluff in Southland. 

NZAS has one of the lightest carbon footprints per tonne of aluminium of a smelter anywhere in the world. NZAS metal is marketed under the new Rio Tinto RenewAl brand, taking advantage of international demand for greener, more sustainable, low-carbon products.

NZAS is 79.36 per cent owned by Pacific Aluminium and 20.64 per cent owned by Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company.  NZAS is a tolling plant, producing primary aluminium in the form of ingot, billet and rolling block. The majority of the plant's alumina is supplied from the Yarwun and Queensland Alumina Limited refineries at Gladstone in Queensland, Australia. Around 90 per cent of the aluminium produced at NZAS is exported.

In the 1960s, Tiwai Point was chosen as the location for an aluminium smelter for a number of reasons. Aluminium smelting requires a large and very reliable power source to continually supply electricity to reduction cells, and Tiwai Point's proximity to the then proposed Manapouri Power Station made it an attractive location. In addition, Tiwai Point was close to the deep sea port of Bluff and the well-established infrastructure of the City of Invercargill. The smelter commenced operations in 1971.

NZAS contributes $525 million to the Southland economy (10.5 per cent of Southland's GDP) and $1,600 million in Southland regional sales, with export revenue of around $1 billion each year.  Approximately 800 full time equivalent employees and contractors work at the smelter.

Operation data:


79.36% Pacific Aluminium (New Zealand)
20.64% Sumitomo Chemical Company

Number of employees  

Approximately 800 employees and contractors



Ingot, billet and rolling block. The smelter produces some of the highest purity aluminium in the world (99.98% pure).

Primary markets 

NZAS is a significant supplier of aluminium to Japan, although the smelter maintains a broad market base including other Asian countries, New Zealand, the United States and Europe.



NZAS website

NZAS 2016 Sustainable Development Report