Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 20:28 UK

No deal yet in metal plant talks

Molten metal at AAM
Hundreds of jobs could go at the plant

There are still "significant issues" to overcome before hundreds of jobs at Anglesey Aluminium can be saved, says Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

A meeting between the chair of the metal company and Mr Hain took place in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Both sides were trying to find a rescue package to keep the plant open when its current power deal ends in September.

After the meeting Mr Hain said the UK government's offer of £50m for the plant remains on the table.

Mr Hain said Wolfgang Stiller, the chairman of Anglesey Aluminium, had agreed to go back to his board to take their views on the meeting, and get in contact again as soon as possible to continue discussions.

The firm has already announced 250 job losses following on from 140 voluntary redundancies. If the plant closes, 80 will remain in maintenance roles.

"There are still many significant issues that need to be overcome from both the government and the company's view
Peter Hain, Welsh Secretary

The plant's majority shareholder, Rio Tinto Alcan, which had rejected the government offer, said last week they would reconsider it.

At the moment the plant, which is a major user of electricity, buys it cheaply from the nearby Wylfa nuclear power station but that agreement ends in a couple of months, and the plant's future is in jeopardy.

Mr Hain described Wednesday's meeting as "useful", although he said there are "uncertainties" on both sides.

"We discussed in detail the issues around the approval for the construction of a biomass plant which could provide a solution to Anglesey Aluminium's long-term future and how the government could help.

"There are still many significant issues that need to be overcome from both the government and the company's view," Mr Hain added.

Four-year offer

Anglesey MP Albert Owen also took part in the talks

Before the meeting Mr Owen said he had been working closely with Unite, the union representatives, and Welsh Assembly First Minister, Rhodri Morgan.

They all shared the same agenda to retain aluminium production and as many jobs as possible, he added.

Afterwards, Mr Owen said: "It was a useful meeting and talks are still ongoing and while difficulties must be overcome every effort is being made to find an agreement.

"The government's four-year offer is still being considered by the board and we expect a response in the next few days."

A spokesperson for Unite said: "We appreciate the collective efforts in the attempt to secure a positive outcome in retaining smelting operations at Anglesey Aluminium and saving as many local jobs as possible."

Print Sponsor

Rethink over offer to save jobs
20 Jul 09 |  North West Wales
250 job losses at aluminium plant
16 Jul 09 |  Wales
Aluminium plant cutting 250 jobs
16 Jul 09 |  North West Wales
Aluminium plant's biomass hope
16 Jun 09 |  Wales
Compulsory job loss fear at plant
06 Jul 09 |  North West Wales

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific