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New Zealand's Ardern seeks to extend Rio Tinto smelter operations by 3-5 years

WELLINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that she will negotiate to extend the operations of Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelter in the country by 3-5 years.

“We are seeking to extend the life of the smelter between 3 to 5 years...,” Ardern said in an announcement as she campaigns for re-election in polls next month.

Rio Tinto said in July it was closing its aluminium smelter in Tiwai Point due to high costs and a challenging market, putting over a thousand jobs on the line and dealing a blow to the country’s top power producers.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Kim Coghill

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