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Alcoa to close Australian smelter and mills

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SYDNEY (AP) — Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. will permanently close an Australian smelter and two rolling mills because they were not financially sustainable, affecting almost 1,000 workers across the three sites, the company announced Tuesday.

The New York City-based company said in a statement a review of its 50-year-old Point Henry smelter at Geelong in Victoria state found it "has no prospect of becoming financially viable."

The rolling mills in Geelong and in Yennora, in New South Wales state, which serve the Australian and Asian can sheet markets have been impacted by excess capacity, the company said.

"Despite the hard work of the local teams, these assets are no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future," Alcoa chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement.

The smelter will close in August and the mills by the end of 2014.

Alcoa also said it would seek a buyer for the Anglesea coal mine and power station, which currently provide power to the smelter.

The company said its Portland smelter in Victoria would continue to operate, along with its Australian bauxite mining and Western Australia state alumina refining operations.

Alcoa said the cost of its restructure and closures would be between $250 million and $270 million.

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