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KURRI KURRI ALUMINIUM SMELTER

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Hydro Aluminium, a fully owned subsidiary of Norway's Norsk Hydro Group, ceased primary metal production at the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter at Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, in September 2012 and ceased producing casthouse products the following month, October 2012.


The Kurri Kurri aluminum smelter began operations with one pot line in 1969 under the ownership of Alcan, using Alcan's end-to-end prebake technology. The current owner, Hydro Aluminium, inherited the smelter when it acquired VAW aluminium AG in 2002. At the time of its closure the smelter comprised three pot lines of end-to-end cells. In 2006 it was reported to have produced 164,000 tonnes of aluminium.
The Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter produced various types of ingots that were used to make a wide range of products that included; tubing, cables, commercial shopfronts, windows, doors, boats, truck bodies, foil and roofing materials etc.


In 2005 Hydro Aluminium upgraded the last remaining side-worked prebake technology still in use in Australia. The upgrade was finished in November that year with the result of significantly reducing emissions from the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter, while, at the same time, increasing production capacity by 6,800 tonnes a year.


After four decades of producing aluminium the last aluminium billets were cast at the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter in late October 2012. The smelting works had been gradually winding down since the impending closure was announced by Norske Hydro six months earlier. The closure meant the loss of about 330 jobs.


When the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter closed the company stated it could eventually reopen again if market conditions improved but it conceded that would be most unlikely as it would not only rely on better market conditions but the cost of a restart would also have to be justified, taking into account the cost of bringing all the equipment back to an operating standard, as well as engaging a whole new workforce.


The 2,000 hectares of land surrounding the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter are already being earmarked as posing an ideal opportunity to develop a residential and industrial estate, as the site is quite large and diverse.


Only a few months after the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter was closed 210 of its former employees had either found full time employment elsewhere, began studying, or had retired. The company assisted its former employees with writing resumes and organising job market days.


Hydro is a world wide aluminium company engaged in producing aluminium as well as sales and trading throughout the entire value chain from the mining of bauxite and the production of alumina as well as the generation of energy, to the manufacturing of aluminium products as well as its recycling. The Norske Hydro head office is in Norway and it employs 13,000 people worldwide who work in 50 countries on all continents. With the closure of the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter in New South Wales, Norske Hydro, now only employ ten people in Australia. They are all involved in care and maintenance of the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter site until it is determined what further action is to be taken.
 

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