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png pipeline customer

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    1000 jobs to build new plant
    Mining giant Alcan is expected to announce a $1.8 billion expansion at its aluminium refinery on the Gove Peninsula today.
    The work is expected to create up to 1000 jobs during the construction phase.
    It is believed Alcan wants the expanded operation to take gas from the huge Papua New Guinea highlands project.
    This would mean a pipeline being brought to the Territory coast -- either directly to Nhulunbuy or to MIM's McArthur River mine at Borroloola.
    Chief Minister Clare Martin met Alcan officials while in Montreal, Canada, late last year. At the time, she said Alcan wanted to change its oil-based energy source to gas so it could complete the huge refinery expansion.
    Valued at $16 billion, Canadian-based Alcan is the world's second biggest aluminium producer.
    In addition to the PNG project, Ms Martin said the company was also looking to source gas from Woodside's Black Tip and Santos's Petrol and Tern gas fields in the Bonaparte Gulf.
    Alcan wanted to buy gas from the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea before development of the project stalled late last year.
    Today's announcement will be the second $1 billion project flagged in the NT this week.
    On Tuesday, Australian mining giant MIM announced a feasibility study into a $1 billion expansion of McArthur River mine.
    The company also anticipated using Greater Sunrise gas but may now consider an option of buying into the PNG gas project.
    At the announcement of that project, MIM general manager Mike Menzies said Northern Territory electricity was too expensive and contributed to low profit margins over recent years.
    Alcan's huge expansion could provide additional stimulus to the NT economy.
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