'Tough year': Yarwun boss tells workers why colleagues axed

IN a site notice handed around to Yarwun workers, management explained why about 50 of their colleagues have lost their jobs in the final round of cuts which aims to make the plant profitable. 

>>BREAKING COVERAGE: Anxious wait over for Yarwun workers, 50 axed

"It has been a tough year and we still have a long road ahead (for Rio Tinto Yarwun)" general manager Colin McGibbon wrote to his workers yesterday, and a report released on the same day in China shows there could be more pressure on the alumina refinery.

Mr McGibbon wrote to Yarwun workers informing them this was the last round of redundancies as about 50 people lost their jobs.

"Commodity prices have decreased to some of the lowest levels we've seen in recent history, with no clear line of sight to when they will improve," he wrote.

>>Axed Rio Tinto Yarwun worker 'feels sorry' for those left

The site notice that was sent out to Yarwun workers yesterday announcing the last round of redundancies.
The site notice that was sent out to Yarwun workers yesterday announcing the last round of redundancies. Rio Tinto

The decrease in alumina prices has been on the back of a growing supply from China which has increased production from 8.5 million mt in 2005, to 59 million mt last year, an increase of 693% in 10 years.

Over the past five years China has increased production by 200% as it was only producing 29 million mt of alumina in 2010, and production has been forecast to grow further.

The state nonferrous information division in Beijing is expecting Chinese alumina refineries to increase output by 5.2% from last year to 61 million mt this year.

The Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun refinery
The Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun refinery

This increase will add further pressure to both Queensland Alumina Limited and Rio Tinto Yarwun, but following both plants' organisational reviews the task of returning to profitability is not impossible.

"We have an excellent team to take Yarwun forward," Mr McGibbon wrote to his staff.

"I am confident we have a robust plan and are well positioned to deliver through our transformation."



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