Negotiations between the government and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters have entered rocky territory, with frustration boiling over at the lack of information being provided by the owners of the Tiwai Point plant.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Rio Tinto it would suspend talks with the company until it commits to a high standard of remediation ahead of the Bluff plant shutting down in 2024.
Rio Tinto has previously told RNZ it would conduct a study of how to close Tiwai Point in a responsible manner, with input from independent scientists.
Any cleanup will involve disposing of 181,000 tons of stockpiled spent cell-liner waste, which leaks cyanide and fluoride.
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods spoke to Corin Dann.