“We see no signs of clear improvements in a time frame as would be necessary for full, adequate continued operation in Neuss. Therefore, we are about to make a decision about further production cuts and talk to employee representatives and other stakeholders to review all options. A formal decision is still pending, ”says Hilde Merete Aasheim, Hydro's Executive Board member responsible for aluminum production.
"If we reduce production further, the electrolysis furnaces will gradually be switched off and secured in order to optimally guarantee a possible restart - provided that improved future market conditions and framework conditions would allow this," says Aasheim.
The plant management in Neuss has started to negotiate with the works council about a solution for the employees affected by a production cut. The plant has 650 employees.
A careful, controlled reduction in capacity that mothballed the systems, i.e. put them into hibernation, would take around two months.
The main reasons for the impending production cuts are the high German electricity prices and the weak aluminum market.
If the general conditions do not improve significantly, the factory will, for the time being, completely shut down its aluminum production once the last furnace has been mothballed. The electrolysis, the actual smelter, would be practically closed, as would consequently the in-house production of the anodes, which the smelter operation consumes.
In the event of a complete shutdown of the Neuss smelter for the time being, the foundry of the Rheinwerk with its 140 employees would still have the task of remelting metal and casting it into billets. These bars are used for further processing in the adjacent, world's largest aluminum rolling mill Alunorf (50% owned by Hydro) and then in Hydro's rolled product plant in Grevenbroich, 20 kilometers away.