The smelter's acting managing director Richard Brown says it is unlikely that the plant will re-open, although he hinted at a possible re-start if market conditions improved.

Hydro's closure of the facility was announced six months ago along with the news that 450 jobs would be lost in the process.

According to Brown, the Kurri Kurri site is surrounded by 2,000 hectares of land that might be transformed into a residential and industrial estate.

Norsk Hydro has announced a smaller-than-expected net loss for Q3 2012, blaming depressed aluminium prices.

Chief executive Svein Richard Brandzaeg said the figures reflected market and macro-economic uncertainty, adding that the company would focus on operational performance, portfolio management and capital discipline to address the problems.