Spending nod for Tiwai Point

Last updated 14:05 16/04/2014

New Zealand Aluminium Smelters' transformer which will come from Korea.

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New Zealand Aluminium Smelters has loosened its purse strings and started spending again after months of cutbacks.

An $8 million capital project, replacing the reduction lines standby transformer, is under way at the Tiwai Pt plant with NZAS employing Southland firms to do the infrastructure work.

NZAS general manager Gretta Stephens said the significant capital project was part of the $70m capital spending halt in 2012 and was approved for restart following renegotiation of the power agreement.

The new standby transformer would be shipped to NZAS from the Hyosung factory in Korea and is expected to arrive at the end of next month.

Commissioning would take place in June or July.

It will replace the original standby transformer, which was now reaching the end of its reliable life after nearly 45 years in service, she said.

The standby transformer would be used when any of the other four reduction line transformers needed maintenance, which would mean there would be no loss of production.

It would provide security in the electricity supply in the event of a failure of one of the four line transformers, which was good news for NZAS, Stephens said.

"Other projects that were on hold during 2012-2013 have now been re-activated, however we still only have a modest capital budget for 2014."

The replacement was the last in a series of upgrades following the 2009 transformer fire: two others were commissioned in June 2010 and March 2012.

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- The Southland Times


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