The Board of Directors of Norsk Hydro ASA on Wednesday approved the plan to close prematurely the oldest electrolytic technology at Hydro’s Karmøy aluminium plant, the Søderberg potlines.
The facility, which produces some 120,000 tonnes aluminium annually, will according to the plan be closed by the end of the first quarter 2009. This schedule is based on a steeply falling market for aluminium.
Hydro emphasizes that closure will take place safely and securely, and that the restructuring process for the roughly 450 Karmøy employees affected is conducted in a proper and organizationally responsible way.
Once the Søderberg technology has been closed, the Karmøy plant will produce around 170,000 tonnes of primary aluminium annually from its prebake facility and employ a total of 950 people, including employees in the semi-manufacturing units.
Provisional estimates put the cost of closure at around the NOK 300 million mark.
The Søderberg potlines at Karmøy would in any case have had to close before the end of 2009, because of the more stringent emission limits imposed by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT).
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