Gas deal flagged to keep Gove refinery working

Chief Minister Terry Mills says a deal that could ensure the future of the Gove Alumina Refinery in the Northern Territory's Gulf country is expected tomorrow.

The Government hopes converting the struggling refinery from expensive diesel fuel to natural gas will allow it to remain operational.

It has been holding talks with gas company ENI to try to secure enough gas supply to make the conversion possible.

The government says the discussions have been productive.

In a statement, the operator of the refinery, Pacific Aluminium, says it has received positive support from the Territory and Federal governments.

The company says it has been negotiating to secure a gas supply, pipeline construction, land access and environmental approvals.

It also says it is still considering suspending refining operations until market conditions improve.

The town of Nhulunbuy, with a population of about 4,000 people, is largely dependent on the alumina plant.

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