Chief executive Jacynthe Cote said it would not be rushed into making any business decision on the business.

Speaking moments after delivering a presentation to the 17th CRU World Aluminium Conference she said: “On our Australia and New Zealand businesses, we are not rushing into any transactions and until now there has been no decision made on the methodology."

During her presentation she spoke of short term pain to ensure long term gain as the industry as a whole experienced a period of volatility. The economic situations in Europe and concerns over Chinese growth, meant the industry had seen better days, she said.

However, long term, aluminium production is expected to grow 6% over the next decade and the industry may need up to 30Mt by 2020. This, Ms Cote said, was one of the most compelling stories in the entire commodities market.

To meet this demand Rio Tinto Alcan has been transforming itself into a low cost producer. In November last year it announced the closure of 13 of its assets including the closure of Lynemouth smelter in UK, its alumina business in Europe and the closure of its Sebree smelter in the USA.

Meanwhile it is expanding its Kitimat smelter in BC, Canada and replacing its Arvida smelter at Saguenay, Quebec with AP60 technology.

Both smelters will be entirely hydro powered, ensuring lower costs and a more environmentally friendly way of making aluminium.

First metal from Phase One of the 60kt/y Saguenay smelter is expected in Q1 with the potential to rise to 450kt/y in two other phases.