Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminium smelter in Northumberland is to close with the loss of more than 500 jobs during 2012.
North-east newspaper The Journal reports that the plant in Lynemouth is to shut its hot metal section on March 29.
It is understood that 323 of the site’s 515 workers from across all divisions will be given 12-weeks notice that they are to be made redundant at the end of May.
Certain operations in Alcan’s carbon and casting plants, which currently employ around 200 staff, will continue production until later in the year.
Jacynthe Côté, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan, told the newspaper: “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.”
The company heavily criticised the government’s introduction of the Carbon Floor Price following the 2011 Budget, and warned it would make aluminium production in the UK unprofitable.
Several business organizations, including EEF, the CBI and the Energy Intensive Users’ Forum, questioned the wisdom of another layer of green tax heaped on high energy users already liable for the costs of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, EU carbon trading and the Climate Change Levy.