SINGAPORE The closure of Rio Tinto Plcs Gove alumina refinery in Australia will be carried out in three phases beginning in February, and will result in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs, the company said.
"Rio Tinto is continuing business as usual at its Gove operations until February 2014," Australian federal industry minister Ian Macfarlene told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.
The first stage of the production shut down will be in early February, the second stage in April to May and the third between June and July, Rio Tinto said Dec. 19.
"The refinery will move to care and maintenance from August 2014," the miner added.
Currently about 1,400 employees and contractors work at the Gove refinery and bauxite mine. Rio Tinto, which will continue to mine and export bauxite at Gove, expects to retain about 350 jobs locally.
"We are continuing to consult with employees about their future options," Jo-Anne Scarini, Rio Tintos director of the Gove transition, said. The options include remaining at Gove, seeking redeployment to another Rio Tinto operation or participating in the companys redundancy program, she added.
Rio Tinto said it was also moving forward with strategies aimed at helping to sustain Australias Nhulunbuy community and East Arnhem region.
The company had recently suspended the Gove alumina refinery to focus on bauxite operations there. Rio Tinto expects bauxite demand to continue to outstrip demand growth for aluminum, largely due to Chinese demand, chief executive officer Sam Walsh said earlier this month during a presentation in London (amm.com, Dec. 12).
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.