Tom Keighley

Member Article

Alcan smelter to close in 2012

Rio Tinto Alcan has confirmed the closure of its Lynemouth aluminium smelter, with the loss of around 325 jobs in May.

Some operational activity in the smelter’s carbon and casting plants will continue into 2012, with the final closure estimated to be November.

Tom Brennan GMB Regional Secretary said “This announcement is a body blow for the economy of south Northumberland as this was the last major manufacturing plant in the area.

“It now leaves the public sector as the only major employer in the area.”

Jacynthe Côté, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan said: “I am saddened by the closure of Lynemouth Smelter but we have reached this decision only after a thorough strategic review of the plant and a fair and transparent consultation process.

“I have met with Lynemouth unions and staff members and I have great respect for the manner in which they have represented their colleagues during consultation.”

She went on to add that focus will now shift to the decommissioning of the plant, and to working with employees to mitigate the impact of redundancy on them and their families.

A core team of around 60 employees will remain on site beyond the closure of all operations to work on decommissioning, remediation and regional economic development.

The firm plans to launch its own Regional Economic Development programme to work alongside other agencies on long-term regeneration and job creation opportunities on site.

Talks are ongoing over the sale of Lynemouth’s Power Station facility, and will not be concluded until regulations for its operation are laid out by the Government.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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