PORTLAND Aluminium currently has no capacity to take on any of the 500 employees who will lose their jobs as part of the Point Henry smelter closure, announced yesterday.
Alcoa Australia yesterday told workers at the Point Henry smelter in Geelong that it would close in August, along with two rolling mills employing another 480 workers, based in Geelong and Yennora, New South Wales – to be closed by the end of the year.
The announcement comes after the Point Henry smelter was placed under strategic review in February 2012 due to challenging market conditions. A comprehensive review found that the 50-year-old smelter had no prospect of becoming financially viable. The two rolling mills serve the domestic and Asian can sheet markets which have been impacted by excess capacity.
“We recognise how deeply this decision impacts employees at the affected facilities and are committed to supporting them through this transition,” said Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer Klaus Kleinfeld. “Despite the hard work of the local teams, these assets are no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future.”
The Anglesea coal mine and power station that currently supplies approximately 40 percent of the power needs for the Point Henry smelter has the potential to operate as a stand-alone facility after the smelter closes. Alcoa of Australia will actively seek a buyer for the facility.
According to Alcoa Australia the Portland Aluminium smelter will continue normal operations, as will Alcoa of Australia’s bauxite mining and alumina refining operations in Western Australia.
Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.