Global company has roots firmly embedded in Northumberland

RIO Tinto Alcan may be part of a global business success story, but its roots and its people are firmly embedded in south-east Northumberland.

RIO Tinto Alcan may be part of a global business success story, but its roots and its people are firmly embedded in south-east Northumberland.

At this point it is perhaps very timely to mention the welcomed acquisition of Alcan by leading international mining company, Rio Tinto to form Rio Tinto Alcan and become the global leader in aluminium.

It is a clear sign companies operating in the county are admired and sought after.

Under new ownership, we will continue to play our part in the regeneration of the county.

We employ over 670 people producing 180,000 tonnes of aluminium per year. As one of the area’s biggest employers our commitment to making a positive impact in the community is very important to us.

We have donated tens of thousands of pounds to support projects and developments aiding local communities, including the Lynemouth Resource Centre, the Wansbeck Business Awards, Northumberland Hospital Radio, Woodhorn Colliery Museum, local residents’ associations, schools and grassroots sport.

The Lynemouth Smelter and Power Station has been a landmark since it opened in 1972.

At the Lynemouth smelter our main business is the production of aluminium used in all aspects of everyday life. Meanwhile, the power station performs a vital role in generating the electricity needed for aluminium production.

Rio Tinto Alcan is at the cutting-edge of aluminium production, using the very latest technology to continually research and implement new and improved production and recycling strategies that reduce waste and benefit the environment. For example, the power station at Lynemouth is the most thermally efficient coal-fired power station in the UK.

Key to our business is delivering world-class standards of environmental, health and safety performance.

We have developed a sustainable approach to making aluminium in the 21st century.

Sustainability is at the centre of all our decision-making based on the highest economic, social and environmental value, and taking into account the interests of all our stakeholders.

We are now recognised as a global leader in terms of sustainability, not just within our own industry, but among other manufacturers and sectors.

To continue driving the business forward, we have adopted an integrated management system designed to guide our efforts in creating maximum value, security and long-term growth while our commitment to sustainability ensures we take into account the needs of each stakeholder.

Our ability to maintain our position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aluminium depends largely on the quality, skills and dedication of our employees.

A highly skilled and competent workforce is key to the smooth and efficient operation of the Lynemouth Smelter and Power Station.

Employees are our biggest asset and we focus on developing staff, creating strong leaders and empowering our workforce which, in turn, fuels innovation, drives performance improvements and reinforces our competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

Continuous improvement and talent management are key business principles at Alcan. CI is a company-wide programme which helps each site benefit from others’ knowledge and experiences and implementing these ideas in their own areas of work. By working together in this way we are able to make use of our existing assets, share best practice and seek new ways to become more efficient.

Our Talent Management programme relates to the recruitment, training and retention of all our people and ensures we provide challenges, opportunities recognition and an exciting place to work.

We offer a range of training programmes to help attract the workforce of the future, ranging from an apprenticeship scheme, which gives recruits the opportunity to experience working at both the smelter and power station. We work with local universities to provide placements for students and operate a popular graduate scheme.

John McCabe is Rio Tinto Alcan corporate affairs director.

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