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January, 201710:32 AM

Vic smelter needs to be viable: Alcoa

Vic smelter needs to be viable: Alcoa

Alcoa wants its struggling aluminium smelter in Portland, Victoria, to be "viable in its own right" as talks over its future and power supply continue.

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By AAP 11.01.2017 04:04 PM

Alcoa wants its struggling aluminium smelter in regional Victoria to be "viable in its own right" as it continues talks with the state and federal governments over the Portland plant's future.

Commercial discussions over a new power supply are also ongoing, Alcoa Australia managing director Michael Parker says in a statement released on Wednesday.

The future of the smelter has been under a cloud for some time and it has been working at less than 30 per cent capacity since a power cut in December.

Mr Parker says since the power outage, Alcoa and the government had done "a great deal of analysis" of the plant.

"Our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and the Portland community can be assured that every possible option is being considered," he said.

"Our goal is for the smelter to be viable in its own right, without the need for government support, but clearly in the current environment that remains a significant challenge."

Federal and Victorian industry ministers Greg Hunt and Wade Noonan went to New York in December in a bid to keep the smelter open.

The Portland smelter employs about 500 permanent staff and 160 contractors.

It contributes about $120 million to the local economy in wages, salaries and local supply contracts, Alcoa says.

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