EXPLAINED: What 'significant number' of job cuts mean for BSL

RIO Tinto owned Boyne Smelter Limited will no longer be Australia's largest aluminium smelter, with 'significant' job and production cuts.

Yesterday thousands of people were delivered the news they loathed to hear: jobs will be cut at Boyne Smelter Limited.

This has cast a shadow of fear and doubt for workers and their families.

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Site general manager Joe Rea said the cuts followed almost two months of rigorous negotiating with the state's electricity generators for a deal to replace BSL's position on the fluctuating spot market.

While 85% of its electricity is delivered from Gladstone Power Station as part of a deal secured until 2029, 15% of its load, or 140MWh was purchased off the spot market.

Aerials of Boyne Smelter Limited (BSL) from early 2013. Photo Contributed
Aerials of Boyne Smelter Limited (BSL) from early 2013. Photo Contributed Contributed

With negotiating deals falling flat, this means BSL will cut its production by 14% and jobs will be lost.

"That means we're going to reduce production by 14% for the foreseeable future every year," Mr Rea said.

The production curtailment will take their electricity usage to just over its supply deal with the Gladstone Power Station for 810MWh.


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To cut production BSL will remove 120 aluminium-producing cells. Already 40 have been taken out of the production line.

"Negotiations did happen in good faith by both parties and there were a couple of times where I felt we were very close to securing a deal.

"Then we started going through the terms and it became clear those deals would lead us to uneconomic production."

The reduction means BSL will lose its crown as Australia's largest aluminium smelter.

Last year it achieved record production with 584,000 tonnes of aluminium leaving the Boyne Island site.

WATCH | Press PLAY and zoom in to watch Boyne Smelter's growth since 1986 to Australia's biggest alumina producer 

NOTE: You can identify Boyne Smelter by its large red mud flats

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