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Alcoa says workers back 2024 restart of its aluminum smelter in Spain

Feb 3(Reuters) - Alcoa Corp (AA) said on Friday that a majority of workers at its San Ciprian facility in Spain voted to back its plan for a phased restart of the aluminum smelter in January 2024 after a two-year halt to primary production.

The U.S. metals producer had reached a deal with workers in December 2021 to end primary aluminum production at the facility for two years as soaring European energy prices threatened its viability.

The phased restart will be completed by Oct. 1, 2025, and from then until the end of 2026, the aluminum smelter will produce at least 75% of its nominal capacity of 228,000 metric tons per year, Alcoa (AA) said.

Last year, the company signed two long-term wind power purchase agreements securing roughly 75% of the smelter's needs at full capacity, it added.

The plan includes $146 million of capital investments, mainly for a new anode plant, and an extended commitment not to initiate any collective dismissal processes for three years after the restart begins, the company said.

In 2020, the company attempted to lay off some 500 workers but was forced to abandon the plan after a Spanish court declared it "null and void."

Alcoa (AA) has long sought to shut down the smelter in Spain's northwestern Galicia region, which has struggled to remain competitive in the face of steep energy costs and low aluminium prices, leading to several years of losses. (Reporting by Deep Vakil and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)

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