Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 19:08 UK

Metal plant's future in spotlight

Worker at Anglesey Alumium
Anglesey Aluminium is a key employer on the island

Welsh and UK government ministers have said they will do all they can to secure the future of an aluminium plant which employs more than 500 people.

Anglesey Aluminium in Holyhead gets cheap power from the nearby Wylfa nuclear power station but the contract is due to end later this year.

The company has said it needs to find an alternative supply of electricity or it will end smelting operations.

The firm's board and ministers discussed the issue on Wednesday.

After the separate meetings, a statement issued by the office of Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy said he and First Minister Rhodri Morgan would "explore all avenues to help Anglesey Aluminium".

"Ministers from DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change), BERR (Business and Regulatory Reform) and the WAG (Welsh Assembly Government) have given a commitment to go back to their departments now and see what can be done to enable Anglesey Aluminium to remain open," said the statement.

"Anglesey Aluminium is a very important employer to Anglesey and the knock-on effects of closure on small businesses will be felt not only in Anglesey but across Wales and Britain."

The rest of the UK has companies dependent on Anglesey Aluminium
Albert Owen, Ynys Mon MP

In addition to the end of the plant's current electricity contract in September, the site is also looking towards the closure of its supplier - the island's Wylfa nuclear plant.

While plans are being put together in a bid to extend the Magnox reactor's life, it is currently due to halt electricity generation in 2010.

Anglesey Aluminium is a key employer on the island, and Mr Murphy has said hundreds more jobs around Wales would also be at risk if the factory closed.

He held a meeting which included UK government ministers and assembly ministers to see what could be done.

Ynys Mon MP Albert Owen, who was due to attend, also stressed the importance of the plant to the UK as a whole.

"It's not just parochial to Anglesey because it's a big player in the UK smelting business. The rest of the UK has companies dependent on Anglesey Aluminium," he said.

"But it has to be a commercial decision like where any other company buys its power from.

"I've been involved in this for a long time and we will not give up."

Anglesey Aluminium uses 12% of all the electricity supplied to Wales, and is believed to be the biggest single user of electricity in Britain.



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