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Rio Tinto to keep Gove refinery open

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February 13 2013, 12:22AM

Rio Tinto later confirmed it would keep the plant running, and is believed to have agreed to keep it operating at its existing capacity for the two years or so before the gas supply arrives.

Company chief executive Sam Walsh commended the NT government for its efforts, saying the outcome balanced the needs of all stakeholders.

"It has been a complex issue to resolve but everyone involved has worked tirelessly to find a solution," Mr Walsh said in a statement.

"Gas to Gove is not only important for the refinery and the community of Nhulunbuy, it is important to the entire Northern Territory."

He said his company's decision would double the size of the domestic gas market, drive further investment in gas exploration, increase long-term gas supply, attract new industries and create jobs for Territorians.

Pacific Aluminium chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas said a great deal of work was needed to deliver gas to Gove.

"Our next steps include finalising commercial arrangements for gas supply, securing gas pipeline financing support with the federal government, obtaining environmental and land access approvals, and developing detailed refinery conversion plans," Mr Biswas said.