THE owners of the Alcan plant in Northumberland are undertaking a review of its future with a sale believed to be one of the options under consideration.
Recent changes in legislation will see the plant at Lynemouth facing additional running costs of up to £40m-a-year by 2013 – wiping out its annual profits.
This has prompted its owners Rio Tinto Alcan to initiate a review of its future and the firm is considering a number of options one of which is believed to be a sale of the site.
It is also looking at possibilities including the conversion of the plant’s power station to wood power, rather than coal.
Late last week the 650 staff at the aluminium smelter and the adjoining power station were told by the company’s management that a review of its future was being undertaken.
Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck, has also spoken to Lynemouth’s senior management, he said: “This is creating a fair amount of uncertainty. The plant has suffered a double whammy with the European emissions legislation and the new Carbon Floor Price.
“This is imposing huge cost burdens on producers like Alcan and is very unfair. Alcan have said before that everything is up for sale.
“They will find it difficult to run the plant while paying the new carbon floor price and emissions’ taxes. However there is the possibility of converting the plant to biomass.
“They are the largest, and one of the best employers in Northumberland, and we aim to give them all the support we can in determining the best way forward.”