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Rio Tinto To Close Aluminium Smelter Due To Chris Huhne’s Green Energy Legislation

Rio Tinto Alcan to close Lynemouth aluminium smelter. “It is clear the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation.”

Rio Tinto Alcan intends to close the Lynemouth aluminium smelter, subject to the completion of a 90-day consultation process with employee and union representatives. The company is also in exclusive discussions regarding the potential sale of the power station at the site.

The Lynemouth smelter in Northumberland, England opened in 1972. It employs 515 people and an additional 111 are employed at the power station. All affected employees will receive support, including re-training and job-search assistance, in order to mitigate the impact of any closure.

Jacynthe Côté, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan, said, “This decision follows a thorough strategic review which explored every possible option for continuing to operate the smelter and power station. However, it is clear the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation. We are hopeful that the power station can remain in operation under new ownership.

“For 40 years, the Lynemouth smelter and power station have been important parts of the community and we will work with our employees and other key stakeholders to ensure that the social and environmental consequences of today’s announcement are managed in the most sensitive way. We are also committed to supporting local initiatives to identify and develop alternative opportunities that promote regional economic development. Finally, we will also continue to support our valued customers.”

Rio Tinto, 16 November 2011