“In November 2013, Rio Tinto announced it would suspend alumina production at Gove in 2014 and focus on its bauxite operations. Key factors influencing the decision were continuing low alumina prices, a high exchange rate and substantial after-tax losses for the refinery despite considerable efforts to improve refinery performance during that time.
The phased suspension of alumina production occurred between February and July 2014. The refinery will move to care and maintenance from August to ensure it is prepared for a potential re-start in the future.”
The Rio Tinto Gove Operation is located on the Gove Peninsula in North East Arnhem land in the Northern Territory.
Arnhem land was visited by Portuguese explorers in the early 1600s and Dutch explorers sailing through Torres Strait in 1623. Evidence of Macassan frequenting our shores and trading trepang with local Indigenous people, the Yolngu, is evident and dates back to the 1700s. Matthew Flinders also made contact with local Indigenous people during his circumnavigation of Australia in 1803. In 1934 a Methodist Mission was established providing medical services to local Indigenous people. During 1943 as a product of World War II a Catalina base and an airport were established on the Gove Peninsula.
Bauxite exploration commenced in 1952 and substantial bauxite reserves identified in 1955. In 1969 the Commonwealth Government granted special mining leases and special purpose leases to the Gove Joint Venture Participants, known as the Gove Agreement.
The township of Nhulunbuy and associated infrastructure was established in 1972 to house mining employees.
The operation consists of a mine, refinery, residue disposal storage facility, port and steam power station. At capacity the mine can produce 8.5Mtpa of bauxite and the refinery can produce 3.8Mtpa of alumina.
For more information visit the Rio Tinto Gove Operation page.