Report - - Alcan Megnesium Site - Lynemouth - June 2012 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Alcan Megnesium Site - Lynemouth - June 2012


Butt Wipe
28DL Full Member
Rio Tinto Alcan

The Alcan Lynemouth Aluminum Smelter was opened in 1974 at a cost of £54 million



The first was a source of electric power to smelt the aluminium. One tonne of aluminium requires the same amount of electricity that an average family uses in 20 years, so cheap power was needed. In 1972 Alcan commissioned Lynemouth Power Station less than 200 m (660 ft) from the smelter's site, to fulfil its power needs. The station's site was convenient for access to the Ellington and Lynemouth coal mines nearby, which were also the fundamental reason for the nearby village's creation. The power station has a 420 megawatt (MW) capacity, more than enough to meet the load requirements of the smelter. The spare electricity is sold to the National Grid.

Another factor was finding a labour force. Many coal mines in the area had shut down, leaving thousands of people there unemployed. Aluminium smelting is very labour-intensive, but the workforce in the local area were used to heavy work because of working in the mines. The British government also granted £28 million to the company to help reduce unemployment in the area.

Transport was another major factor as bauxite could not be found in the United Kingdom, only in places such as Jamaica and Australia. The smelter's location had to be near a port with good transport links to the site. The town of Blyth, which is 4 mi (6.4 km) south of the smelter, already had a deep sea port. There was also a railway link from the port going directly to the power station, which was connected to the Alcan facility. The site also has good road links.

The smelter has two of the most efficient ring burners in the world, costing around £17 million each.
The smelter is the only aluminum smelting site in Europe which rebuilds the smelter whilst still in production. It is a 100 day process which takes place every seven years.
The smelter is provided with alumina by two trains a day from Blyth, each consisting of 21 wagons. The alumina is shipped to Blyth from Limerick in the Republic of Ireland.
Coke is shipped to Blyth from Louisiana in the U.S. and is transported to the smelter by HGVs.


Production at the Lynemouth Smelter ended at 14:00 on 29 March 2012, following a 90-day consultation period. It is to close in May 2012 putting 515 people out of work. Alcan cited rising energy costs due to emerging European environmental legislation as the reason, however no mention was made of effects (if any) on their other European aluminum plants, in France and Iceland. Another reason given for closing Lynemouth is that it apparently does not meet Rio Tinto's criterion of 40% rate of return from its businesses, despite being one of the most efficient aluminum smelters in the world. The 420MW coal power station will continue to operate under new ownership.


Visited with AJ

We first went here in April, the site was pretty much still live, having to dodge camera's, security and workmen this was always going to be tricky, but I love a challenge and with people saying the same thing "It cant be done, its to secure" we couldn't help ourselves to go and do it, while inside the site we got into a huge building where we found ourselves above loads of workmen, we decided to make a quick run to the other side where it was much darker, while heading over the over head crane began to move towards us, we dropped to the floor like a pile of shite, fortunately we never got seen and was able to take pictures, we tried to get further into the plant but with the amount of workers we decided to leave it for another night.

We came back in June, planning to get further into the site, we knew exactly where we needed to be, unfortunately, it was still live (grrrr) luckily there wasn't much workers so we did get to a point that was new, the problem was, one of the workers decided to come off his break and work next to us, we figured out that we where trapped, couldn't go forward as the worker would see us, same with going back as we needed to go through the building, the other option was to go outside where the security van was, but that was the best chance we could do, running like our life depended on it, we got away (again) ;)
















Thanks for looking..​
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