Alcoa evaluating its bauxite operations
PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) — Aluminum producer Alcoa said Thursday it was reviewing options for its Suriname bauxite subsidiary two days after the country’s leader said the multinational was preparing to slash local operations.
In a Thursday email, company spokeswoman Monica Orbe said Alcoa is working with the South American nation “to ensure the long-term viability of the operations” in Suriname, where it has had mining operations for nearly a century.
On Tuesday, Suriname President Desi Bouterse told Parliament that Alcoa was planning to cut local production by a third and lay off some 200 employees and 800 contractors. Alcoa’s local subsidiary is Suriname Aluminum Company LLC, known as Suralco.
Bouterse also told lawmakers that Alcoa wants to pay less for fuel from the country’s state oil company, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V., while it wants Suriname to pay more for power from a hydropower plant it built.
Orbe made no mention of layoffs or other specifics, stressing that discussions with Bouterse’s government are “focused on resolving issues on the long-term supply of bauxite” and finding a “competitive energy solution.”
The mining industry is the backbone of Suriname’s economy.
Globally, high levels of aluminum supplies have led to lower prices, and Alcoa has repeatedly cut its smelting capacity in response. In April, the company reported its first-quarter results and said the price it was paid for aluminum decreased by 8 percent from a year ago. It said revenue also fell because of lower prices.