QUEBEC – NORSK HYDRO of Oslo, Norway, has announced plans to take itself out of the magnesium industry and to close its plant in Becancoeur during the first half of 2007. The move affects 380 employees of the plant. Norsk said magnesium production in Quebec is not profitable compared with buying low-priced metal from China.
Norsk opened the Becancoeur plant in 1989, and it became the world’s largest, most environmentally friendly magnesium producer. The facility was opened as part of the company’s strategy to target the US auto industry, and the closure corresponds with the end of Norsk’s 10-year supply contract with General Motors. As of Sept. 30, 2006, the company put the book value of the plant at 73 million Norwegian krone, or Cdn$13.3 million.
Norsk (www.Hydro.com) has pledged to help employees find work either within the company or with other enterprises. The company is also divesting its magnesium casting plants in Germany and China.