France Won't Accept Rio Tinto Alcan Plant Closure

July 18, 2012
'This is a profitable site, we do not accept this decision.'

France's Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg said Wednesday the government will not accept the closure of aluminum giant Rio Tinto Alcan's plant in eastern France.

The Canadian firm, a subsidiary of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, announced in June it would make a decision on the future of the smelter in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, which employs 600 people, at the end of September, indicating it was looking for a buyer.

"This is a profitable site, we do not accept this decision," Montebourg said on France Inter radio. "We will enter into discussions with them in a way that will be pretty firm.

"Where companies are making money and obviously abusing the situation, we will hold very tough negotiations, which for us must lead to a reversal," he said.

France's new government is struggling to kickstart the country's stagnant economy and protect jobs threatened by its high labor costs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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