NEW YORK Rio Tinto Alcan
is evaluating several conditional offers for its
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne aluminum smelter in the French Alps as
part of a process to find a buyer for the plant, the company
The smelter could close once its
energy contract expires in 2013 if a buyer is not found.
"The process is going well, but
as in the case of all smelters approaching the end of their
energy contract, it is crucial for these potential buyers to
reach an agreement on a power supply contract competitive
enough for the plant to be profitable in the long term," said
Arnaud Soirat, director for operations in Rio Tinto
Alcans European, Middle East and African primary metals
The company has been working
with the French government, employee representatives and the
local community in the search for a buyer with a business model
that is suitable for the smelter.
Production curtailments began at
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, located in the Savoie department of
southeastern France, after the 2008 downturn.
It produced 71,000 tonnes in the
first nine months of the year, according to Rio Tintos
third-quarter production report.
Rio Tinto Alcan is the aluminum
division of London-based Rio Tinto Plc.