Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Alcan slashes jobs and production

Kitimat Works, British Columbia, Canada
Demand for aluminium and other raw materials has been hit by the downturn

Alcan, the aluminium-making arm of mining giant Rio Tinto, plans to reduce production and cut 1,100 jobs.

Half the jobs will go at the Anglesey Aluminium joint venture in North Wales, which is expected to shut in September.

The job losses are part of the 14,000 positions Rio Tinto said it would cut last month, in response to falling demand for raw materials.

The economic downturn means Alcan will reduce aluminium production by 11% and alumina - another raw material - by 6%.

"Our goal is to align production with customer demand and reduce our operating costs as much as possible," said Dick Evans, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan.

Production will be affected at two of its plants in Quebec. The firm will permanently close down its Beauharnois smelter and temporarily cut production at its Vaudreuil alumina smelter by 400,000 tonnes.

Alcan said it also expected to sell its interest in a joint venture in China to raise cash.

Alcan, based in Canada, was taken over by Rio Tinto in 2007.

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