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