The Geelong plant was bailed out to the tune of $40 million by the previous government in June 2012 on the condition it stay open until at least June 2014. Credit Suisse has predicted a shutdown will come in the second half of the year.

Prime minister Tony Abbott indicated the government’s negativity towards propping up unviable factories after Holden announced in December 2013 that it would end its Australian manufacturing in 2017. The office of industry minister Ian Macfarlane refused to say whether or not extra help would be given to Alcoa.

The smelter’s closure would be another hit to Geelong, with Royal Dutch Shell announcing last year that its refinery was up for sale and Ford Australia to close its engine plant in 2016.