Government Offers Smelter Jobs Hope

by J Williams
(North Wales)

According to Anglesey MP Albert Owen, 540 jobs at the Holyhead aluminium smelter may be saved by a financial package from Government at Westminster and Cardiff.

With the Rio Tinto - Kaiser Chemical Corporation jointly owned plant likely to close in September unless a new electricity supply contract can be secured, this offer also includes support for the company's proposed £600 million, 300 MW biomass power plant next to the smelter.

Mr Owen met yesterday with ministers and officials at the Welsh Office, as well as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Department for Business Innovation and Skills, as well as Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and Officials from Unite the Union.

Mr Owen said: "We are determined to fight and keep as many jobs as possible.

Negotiations are at a difficult stage and we now need some clarity from both Rio Tinto and the Anglesey Aluminium Board."

A taskforce has been set up to come up with a solution to the problem, this has now been done, so we wait for a response from the company."

The Unite representative said that "the union is pleased with the very positive approach taken by the Government, and we now want to meet with the Anglesey Aluminium Metal (AAM) Board soon to move things forward."

This follows on from proposals put forward by AAM recently to build a biomass plant next to the Holyhead smelter.

Given that the special power contract with Wylfa Nuclear Power Station ends this September, it is a matter of urgency that the plant secures a new electricity contract.

So even if the AAM biomass project gets the green light it is not certain that operations at the Holyhead smelter could continue unless this power issue is resolved.

Related Articles:

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Gordon Brown smelter support
Holyhead Biomass Plant Exhibition
Anglesey Aluminium wants biomass power
Avoiding Anglesey Smelter Shutdown
Anglesey smelter closing
Prospects for Island smelter
Welsh Secretary visits Aluminium plant
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Jul 07, 2009
Compulsory notices to go out
by: Bob

Just seen on the news now that up to 350 workers at Rio Tinto Anglesey Aluminium in Holyhead will be handed redundancy notices later this week. Then only about 80 workers left to melt aluminium.

From 500+ to 80, that's a big hit for local families.

Unite union have been fighting hard to get the best deal for locals, and said they were shocked after RTZ rejected government £48 million package.

What will happen next?

Jul 06, 2009
Aluminium demand weak
by: Ken

Agreed. Weak demand doesn't help Anglesey Aluminium's cause now. Lets see what happens in China and other emerging economies, that's where increased demand will drive the market price of aluminium back up.

But I think if AAM could cover the cost of new power contract tomorrow i think they would carry on. So in end it is the power deal that's the clincher, I think.

Jul 04, 2009
RTZ does it need AAM
by: ex-employee1972

In view of the fact that RTZ now owns ALCAN and has thus gained its smelting capacity including Blyth and Lochaber, both of which have integrated power facilities, it will take a lot of persuading to keep AAM. It perhaps does not need the capacity especially in times of decreasing demand.

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