300 Jobs Go At Northumberland Metal Plant

6 March 2012, 11:46

More than 300 jobs are to be lost after Rio Tinto Alcan confirmed it's shutting its aluminium smelting plant in Lynemouth later this month

The site opened in 1972 and employs 515 staff, alongside 111 staff who work at a power station 200 metres away.

Rio Tinto have today confirmed the closure plans which were first announced in November.

They say 323 people at the aluminium smelting site will be made redundant in May.

Some operational activity in the smelter's carbon and casting plants will continue this year and the company's ship unloading facility at the Port of Blyth will continue to operate for around 18 months.

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

Talks on the sale of the power station are ongoing but can't be tied up until regulations for its continued operation independent of the smelter are confirmed.

Rio Tinto, which has blamed the closure on spiralling energy costs, said the decision was taken after a "thorough strategic review'' and consultation process with unions and staff members.

Jacynthe Cote, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan, said the company was now working with employees to mitigate the impact of redundancy and securing the future development of the Lynemouth site.

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