Renewed Hope for Anglesey Aluminium

by David Phillips

The future of Anglesey Aluminium (AAM)at Holyhead remains in the balance after more discussions yesterday between Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, the management of AAM, Unite the Union officials and island MP Albert Owen.

The company has said it will be ending smelting operations in September and 140 workers have already accepted voluntary redundancy.

Talks have been going on at the highest levels, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meeting with local MP Albert Owen and saying the Government is doing everything it can to save the plant from closure and safeguard the existing jobs.

Yesterday's meeting between Peter Hain and AAM was a determined effort at trying to find some way forward through the impasse over the offer of £48 million over four years to help the smelter get through these difficult times for the aluminium industry in particular and industrial metals more generally.

One approach could be to front load the financial support, so that rather than have £12 m each year for 4 years, there could be more funds in the first two years, anticipating the price for primary aluminium will recover over the next two years.

On Monday high level discussions will take place between government ministers from the Business and Energy departments and Board members of Rio Tinto and Kaiser Aluminium to work out a possible late solution for the smelter and save more jobs.

After Friday's meeting Albert Owen MP said: "We have had constructive discussions with Anglesey Aluminium and I am encouraged by the willingness of the company to look again at ways of saving the smelter.

The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Wales are doing everything they can to help save the plant and local jobs and we must leave no stone unturned in our efforts."

It appears there may be a chink of light for the local workforce regarding the future of Anglesey Aluminium Metal at Holyhead, and after next Tuesday (21 July, 2009) the picture should be clearer.

Update (2 August 2009):

Local MP Albert Owen believes the prospects for saving the Anglesey Aluminium smelter in Holyhead are much improved, and it now seems more likely than not that operations will continue.

The scenario of operating with only one potline is the expected outcome, and significantly there would be no further job losses on top of the 140 voluntary redundancies.

"The next two years may be difficult but the long term outlook is more positive for aluminium", said Mr Owen.

He added, "what needs to be resolved now are the various conditions relating to the generous offer made by the Government".

One possibility that has been discussed is bringing forward more of the financial support into the first two years or so.

It seems that the tireless efforts of Albert Owen along with support from First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan, as well as Welsh Secretary Peter Hain and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, may finally save local jobs and help the island economy avoid a drop in economic activity.

The next few days will be crucial in the final outcome.

Related Articles:

Island plant closure devastating blow
Kaiser expects smelter closure
Counter proposal smelter hope
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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Comments for Renewed Hope for Anglesey Aluminium

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Aug 02, 2009
aluminium plant saved
by: Keith

if this news is true, then it's fantastic for Anglesey. let's keep our fingers crossed.

Jul 22, 2009
reduce output, have one potline
by: Mike

How about reducing output at Anglesey Aluminium to only one potline? Maybe few jobs still lost but many saved. Is this possible?

Jul 22, 2009
please decide soon!
by: Anonymous

all this waiting is very stresful for people in town, when can Rio Tinto decide what's happening here.

Jul 21, 2009
Rio Tinto Board Meeting
by: Will

Seems that Rio Tinto, Kaiser and Anglesey Aluminium are taking their discussion into Wednesday, according to news reports. Perhaps there is something positive coming through?

Jul 18, 2009
keep fighting for Tinto jobs
by: Jeff

good news about local MP still fighting to save the jobs and Tinto are maybe going to hang on with plant. Holyhead will be ghost town if all jobs go.

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