Holyhead Smelter Closure Devastating for Island

by David Phillips

Anglesey Aluminium smelter at Holyhead will cease production in September, with around 300 people set to lose their jobs.

The company, owned by Rio Tinto Plc and Kaiser Aluminium, Inc, could not reach a sustainable plan for the plant after it had turned down a very generous £48 million package over 4 years from the UK Government.

With the electricity supply contract from nearby Wylfa Power Station coming to an end in September, Anglesey Aluminium Metal had been trying to secure an alternative power supply.

One option they had considered was an extension of the current contract with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), owners of the Wylfa site.

Local MP Albert Owen, who has worked continuously to save the plant along with Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, was deeply disappointed by the decision and said it was a "devastating blow to the island economy".

The smelter had already announced 250 compulsory job losses in July as well as 140 people taking voluntary redundancies. Now there will only be 80 staff retained to carry out a much smaller remelting operation.

Attention will now turn to what plans the company will have for the proposed biomass plant for which it was intending to seek planning permission and carry out an environmental impact assessment.

The Welsh Assembly Government will be working flat out to help people adjust to this shock and find alternative careers in what is already a challenging economic environment.

Related Articles:

Kaiser expects smelter closure
Counter proposal smelter hope
Renewed hope for Anglesey Aluminium
Gordon Brown smelter support
Government offers aluminium smelter help
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
Aluminium plant full output recovery
Smelter three month capacity cut
Aluminium smelter fire causes shutdown
Permanent closure Anglesey Aluminium

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Aug 27, 2009
Trefor Jones empty promises
by: Gwilym

I just saw this from the blog of Trevor Jones, Conservative parliamentary hopeful for Anglesey at the general election.

"This news is devastating to the workers and their families. It?s especially disappointing considering problems regarding a power deal were highlighted four years ago and no agreement has been reached. If elected next year, I will make it my top priority to bring stable well-paid jobs to Ynys Môn."

But Rio Tinto didn't want a deal all along, and even turned down a very helpful £50 million from the government. Despite that offer and the efforts of Albert Owen to keep primary smelting on Anglesey, they still didn't want to know.

People should remember that the Tories approach to all this would be "let the market decide". So with Cameron, we would not even have got this far: no support, no money, nothing, just the market.

So Trefor Jones better look at the Tory approach before "throwing stones".

Aug 18, 2009
Plaid Cymru Man Exploits Smelter Job Losses
by: Jeff

I feel so sorry for the workforce of Anglesey Aluminium who learnt this week that the company had refused the government £50 million offer and will now close in September.

So why is the Plaid Cymru candidate on Ynys Mon trying to make political capital out of this terrible situation for local workers (Daily Post letters 18 August), with the ink on the redundancy notices not yet dry.

Since we have had a Plaid Cymru Minister in Cardiff we have seen numerous job losses across Anglesey, and now his colleagues in the Plaid Cymru supported county council are threatening to close our swimming pools and leisure centres.

No wonder the Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate is so desperate.

Aug 14, 2009
let's be positive
by: Anonymous

ok closing Anglesey aluminium this is bad but now there's a lot of new things in the pipeline. if they can get the biomass plant plans through quickly, there wil be lots of jobs for locals.

Aug 13, 2009
bad news for town
by: Joan

this is terrible news for Holyhead, after Eatons and Woolies. and with threat to close our swimming pool it's been a bad week all round. at least there will still be some jobs in Tinto and they want to build a power station here.

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