Former Northern Territory chief minister Terry Mills has said his successor Adam Giles has been short-sighted in reneging on a gas supply deal with the Gove refinery.
Giles’s government announced last month that only 195 petajoules rather than 300 would be supplied over 15 years to Gove, as Mills had announced in February.
Mills claims that supplying the amount originally announced would encourage gas explorations which would be needed in the future.
"Gove is seen as a threat to all of us, when what our real threat is that, in 2032, we do not have any gas," the ABC reports him as saying.
The Gove aluminium refinery, owned by Rio Tinto's Pacific Aluminium business, has been a long-time loss-maker, and converting its diesel fuel supply to gas would offer much-needed savings on fuel costs. A pipeline to the refinery would also have to be built.
Pacific has been up for sale since 2011. CNBC and others are reporting that Rio has given up trying to sell the business this week.
"Following a comprehensive review we have also determined that the divestment of Pacific Aluminium for value is not possible in the current environment and it will be reintegrated into the Rio Tinto Alcan group," CEO Sam Walsh explained.