Rio Tinto to axe 515 jobs as British aluminium smelter shuts

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Global miner Rio Tinto announced Wednesday that it plans to shut an aluminium smelter in northeast England because of rising energy costs, resulting in the loss of 515 jobs.

The Anglo-Australian company said that its Rio Tinto Alcan unit intends to close the Lynemouth smelter, adding that it is in exclusive talks over the potential sale of the site's power station, which employs 111 staff.

Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive Jacynthe Cote said the decisions followed "a thorough strategic review which explored every possible option for continuing to operate the smelter and power station.

"However, it is clear the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly," she added in a statement.

© 2011 AFP

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