No quick exit for Alcan

THERE will be no quick exit from Lynemouth for Rio Tinto Alcan as bosses seek a new owner for the site.

The company has confirmed that the smelter will close after no buyer was found to take it on, with hot metal operations ending next Thursday and the majority of the workforce set to leave at the end of May.

But at a public meeting on Tuesday, officials said that some of its work will continue until the end of the year and decommissioning of the site could take around two years.

In addition, Alcan’s Corporate Affairs Director John McCabe has taken on a role as Regional Economic Development Director for Lynemouth to try to find a suitable buyer for the land who will provide employment.

He said: “We are here today because Rio Tinto Alcan has decided to exit Lynemouth, but what we are not going to do is just lock the gates and walk away.

“We are going to carry on with the decommissioning process to the highest standards and have committed to the regional economic development programme.

“We are also thinking about our longer-term legacy and we have to make sure that we leave behind the most skilled workforce as we possibly can for the future.”

Workers have been offered a package of training to prepare them for new employment or help them set up their own businesses.

The meeting heard that the site’s carbon plant will probably continue to operate until August, while the casting plant should stay in operation until the end of the year and activity at the Port of Blyth will continue for around 18 months.

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