ROUYN-NORANDA, Quebec NORANDA is slashing the workforce and restructuring business at its Horne copper smelter in an effort to restore the smelter's profitability and ensure its long-term viability.
The measures will include significantly decreasing the smelter's production level between now and June 2004 and reducing staff levels by close to one-third. The decision was made to scale back treating material that offered the lowest margins, especially off-shore materials, and to bring smelter production back to its optimum level under these economic conditions. Total feed volume will decrease from 840,000 tonnes to approximately 650,000 tonnes by mid-2004. Anode production will be reduced by 20%, diminishing from 186,000 tonnes to 145,000 tonnes per year. Noranda also intends to intensify its recycling activities.
Noranda blames three major factors for its decision. The growing Asian involvement in the copper concentrate market have driven treatment charges to historically low levels. The stronger Canadian dollar, compared to the U.S. dollar, has reduced smelter revenue by 15%. The lack of local concentrates has resulted in treating more costly concentrates from off-shore.
More information about Noranda's copper and other business units is available at www.noranda.com. Horne smelter workers were on strike from June 2002 until May 2003.