By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
NEW documents about Alcoa of Australia’s operations suggest its Point Henry smelter will close next year, according to the Greens.
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said the documents showed Alcoa generated last financial year’s $100 million profit solely from a State Government power subsidy, due to end in seven months.
“It’s pretty clear from these documents that the whole of Alcoa’s profit comes from the Government’s energy subsidy,” Mr Barber said.
“When that ends in July next year they’ll shut the smelter, sure as night follows day. Then all we’ll have left is a polluting power station.
“It appears to me they’re getting ready to close the smelter and keep running the mine and power plant for profit.”
The Independent revealed last year that Alcoa had confirmed its Anglesea power station would remain operational even if the Point Henry smelter was closed.
The smelter has been under a cloud since Alcoa announced an operational review of the facility. A state and federal government bailout kept the plant open, saving 600 jobs until mid-2014.
The Independent also reported in April that Alcoa was using hardship provisions to terminate a long-term multi-million dollar deal to buy electricity for its Point Henry smelter from AGL.
Alcoa applied for an electricity generation licence for supply or sale for its Anglesea power station when the company’s State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) agreement ends on 31 July 2014.
In its application, the company told the Essential Services Commission it needed the generation licence because it was not covered under the SECV agreement.
An Alcoa spokesperson said the licence application was to enable the Anglesea power station to continue generating electricity and transmitting power to Point Henry.
“Currently the licence responsibility is part of Alcoa’s long-term electricity agreement with the SECV.
“When this agreement expires on 31 July 2014, Alcoa must hold a generator’s licence in its own right.”