Speculation about the future of the Point Henry Alcoa smelter in Geelong has ended this morning, with news that the 50-year-old site will close in August.
The Australian reports that 500 jobs will be lost with the closure of the smelter, which has been the subject of a company review since February 2012. A further 500 jobs will also be shed with the closure of an adjacent rolling mill and another rolling mill in Yennora, NSW.
The ABC reports that Alcoa’s managing director and chairman Alan Cransberg is briefing employees this morning.
"We recognise how deeply this decision impacts employees at the affected facilities and are committed to supporting them through this transition," the ABC reports Klaus Kleinfeld, company chief executive officer, as saying.
"Despite the hard work of the local teams these assets are no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future."
The smelter was granted $40 million in 2012 by the then Gillard federal government and the Victorian government to continue operating until June this year.
Last month there were predictions that the site would close soon, after Alcoa’s communications manager said the company would not be seeking further assistance.
The news will add to Geelong’s difficulties, with Ford to close in 2016 and the future of the nearby Shell refinery in jeopardy.
"Their job prospects are terrible,” the AWU’s Ben Davis said of the workers who will lose their jobs.
“Geelong is becoming a manufacturing disaster zone."