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Rio Tinto plans to close UK smelter

Monday November 21st 2011

Global mining giant Rio Tinto Alcan has announced its intention to close its Lynemouth aluminium smelter in north-east England in a move which will lead to the loss of 515 jobs.

The company is also holding talks about selling the site's power station, which has a workforce of 111 staff.

Stating that a significant increase in energy costs has made it difficult to continue operating the Northumberland aluminium plant, Rio Tinto Alcan said it will be holding consultations with staff and union representatives over a 90-day period regarding the smelter shutdown.

Jacynthe Cote, 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."

The firm hopes that the new owner of the power station, which is located nearly 200 metres from the Lynemouth aluminium smelter, will keep it open.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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