Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Can Kitimat escape cutbacks at Rio Tinto Alcan?

Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest producers of aluminum has announced a number of high profile closures, shutdowns and cutbacks worldwide this week, a reflection of the troubled times across the globe in the resource based industries particularly in the world of minerals. Rio Tinto Alcan is not alone in its troubles, as Alcoa recently announced huge layoffs to its operations as the situation worsened in the resource sector.

This week the axe fell in Quebec, where the company closed a smelter and reduced output of another processing operation while at the same time letting go a number of employees employed in that province, those closures have sent some shock waves through other Quebec communities that host Alcan operations in the province, with many if not all wondering if they might be next .

As the bad news rolled across the time zones from the South Pacific to Brazil , through Quebec and on to BC, residents of Kitimat wondered if they too would be sharing in the Alcan pain through further cuts from the Rio Tinto head offices.

No hard numbers were outlined, but suggestions of more corporate financial setbacks and further workforce cutbacks, will loom large on the economy of the Northwest and Kitimat in particular.

The fall out from the continuing downward slide of the aluminum industry could also very well have a huge impact on the fate of the Kitimat modernization program, as Rio Tinto continues to struggle with its world wide operations.
Kitimat will no doubt be keeping an eye on the business channels and keeping the business section of the newspapers handy, just to stay in the loop.

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