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Rio Tinto will soon be a 73.5 per cent owner of the Boyne Island aluminium smelter in Gladstone, Queensland, thanks to a deal with Mitsubishi Corporation.

The deal will see Rio acquire Mitsubishi’s 11.65 per cent interest in Boyne Smelters (BSL), which owns and operates the Gladstone smelter.

The acquisition is subject to various conditions, including approval from Australia’s foreign investment review board.

So far, the value of the deal is undisclosed, but is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2024.

“Rio Tinto looks forward to continuing to work with its remaining BSL joint venture partners and other stakeholders on securing a competitive low-carbon future for its Gladstone operations,” the company said in a statement.

After the sale is complete, Rio’s BSL joint venture partners will be YKK Aluminium with 9.5 per cent, UACJ Australia with 9.29 per cent and Southern Cross Aluminium with 7.71 per cent.

Prior to this latest deal, Rio owned a 59.4 per cent stake in BSL.

Since it opened in 1982, a series of multimillion dollar investments increased Boyne’s capacity from 210,000 tonnes (t) of aluminium per year to today’s capacity of more than 500,000t.

Rio also holds the nearby Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, which produces approximately three million tonnes of alumina per year to be exported to customers in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific region.

Rio’s Wepia operations in far north Queensland includes three bauxite mines, processing facilities, shiploaders, an export wharf, two ports, power stations, a rail network and ferry terminals.