Rio Tinto outlines gas fears

Miner battling to bring Qld gas sellers to the table for major alumina plant.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is battling to bring Queensland gas sellers to the table for a major alumina plant as concerns persist about an east coast gas shortage, according to The Australian.

The mining giant says high prices aren’t as much of a worry as opposed to whether there will actually be enough gas to fire its recently expanded Yarwun alumina plant at Gladstone.

"We're not asking for preferential prices or that sort of thing, we're just asking for there to be a market in eastern Australia," Rio's head of bauxite and alumina, Pat Fiore, said, according to The Australian.

"Right now we're struggling to attract anyone to the table to negotiate."

Domestic buyers are competing with energy hungry Asian investors, who have shown a willingness to pay around triple the price of traditional Australian gas prices.

It is not known when Rio’s Yarwun contracts expire, but it is likely to be in the next few years given the miner’s desire to come to the negotiating table now.

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