Low treatment charges and the generally weak forecast for the lead market are blamed for NORANDA's decision to run its Brunswick smelter only eight months per year. The smelter is located in Belledune, N.B. It is a sister operation to the Brunswick mine in Bathurst.
Beginning in July 2003, the smelter will be closed for four months each year. The revised operating plant calls for lead production to fall to 78,000 tonnes/year (from 100,000 tonnes) and silver production to shrink to 5,000,000 oz (from 12 million oz). Noranda estimates that its plan, which includes increasing the daily production rate in the sinter plant, will reduce overall costs by 10%.
Staffing levels at the Brunswick smelter are currently 470, most of whom will be laid off during the shutdown period. As well, 70 positions are slated for elimination through attrition. Further information is available from Noranda's manager of communications Roger Clinch at 506-547-6012.