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300 jobs lost as mining plant shuts

Wednesday March 7th 2012

A mining giant has said it will close one of its plants this month, meaning 300 people will be left jobless.

Rio Tinto Alcan said it will close its aluminium smelting site in Lynemouth, Northumberland.

The plant, which has been open since 1972, employs 515 workers and another 111 at a nearby power station

Its plans to shut were first made public in November, when the firm said 323 workers would lose their jobs in May.

The smelter's carbon and casting plants will remain active this year, while the firm's ship unloading site at the Port of Blyth will stay in operation for about a year-and-a-half.

About 60 workers will form a core team and stay on-site after the closure, in order to work on remediation, regional economic development and decommissioning.

Discussions about selling the power station are ongoing, and cannot be drawn to a conclusion until regulations regarding its continued operation - independent of the smelter - have been confirmed.

Rio Tinto has said the closure is due to increasing costs of energy, and that the firm made the decision following a "thorough strategic review" and after consulting with staff members and unions.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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