Hydro has decided to reduce production in the oldest part of the Karmøy aluminium plant, the Søderberg potrooms, by 20 percent from December in order to meet sharply falling demand in the aluminium market. This measure will not affect the permanent manning levels at Karmøy.
The Søderberg potlines at Karmøy produce 120,000 tonnes of aluminium annually, and a 20-percent cut will reduce annual production by 24,000 tonnes. Hydro produce an additional 170,000 tonnes of primary aluminium from the modern prebake potrooms at Karmøy. This production will not be affected.
Hydro announced last week that demand for aluminium and aluminium products has fallen dramatically in recent weeks, and that the company was reviewing its entire operations to see how production can be adjusted to meet declining market demand.
"We will continue to consider what demands are necessary to adjust to the extremely demanding market situation," says Hilde Aasheim, executive vice president for Hydro's Aluminium Metal business area. She emphasizes that the company will implement all measures in the most considerate way possible and in close dialogue with the employees.
The Søderberg potlines at Karmøy are scheduled for closure by the end of 2009 when the current emission permits, issued by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, expire. This may affect some 450 jobs at the plant.
Technical adjustments will be made to ensure that Hydro's downstream units at Karmøy are not negatively impacted by the phasing out of Søderberg production.