Alcoa announced on February 17 that it will permanently close its Point Henry aluminum smelter and two rolling mills in Australia. The smelter and an adjacent rolling mill are located in Geelong, Victoria. A second mill and a recycling facility are located in Yennora, New South Wales. The smelter will close in August and the rolling mills by the end of 2014.

Alcoa had the Point Henry smelter under strategic review since February 2012. The review found that the 50-year-old smelter has no prospect of becoming financially viable.

The two rolling mills serve the Australian and Asian can sheet markets, which have been impacted by excess capacity.

Alcoa of Australia operates the smelter, which has about 500 employees; Alcoa Inc. operates the rolling mills, which employ about 480 people.

Alcoa of Australia also owns and operates the Anglesea coal mine and power station, which currently supply approximately 40% of the Point Henry smelter’s power needs. Alcoa of Australia will seek a buyer for the facility, which has the potential to operate on a stand-alone basis after the smelter closes.

Alcoa of Australia’s Portland aluminum smelter in Victoria will continue normal operations, as will its bauxite mining and alumina refining operations in Western Australia.

The closures will reduce Alcoa’s global smelting capacity by 190,000 mt and reduce Alcoa’s can sheet capacity by 200,000 mt. Including the closure of the Point Henry smelter, Alcoa has announced closures or curtailments representing 551,000 mt of capacity, exceeding the 460,000 mt placed under review in May 2013. Once the Point Henry closure is complete, Alcoa will have total smelting operating capacity of approximately 3.76 million mt, with approximately 655,000 mt, or 17%, being high-cost capacity that is offline.

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