Since the socialists took power in France last year, the French Government’s Industrial Renewal Minister, Arnaud Montebourg has been pretty vocal with is view, that Rio Tinto Alcan should rule out closure of the plant.

Site closure has been an option open to the mining giant ever since a cheap power deal with French power behemoth EDF expired – but the French Government is having none of it and insists that the company pushes ahead and finalises a deal with Trimet, Germany’s leading aluminium producer.

According to an official statement from Trimet, the Rio Tinto plant in France would complement Trimet’s product portfolio. “In recent decades, Trimet has taken several aluminium plants in Germany, which were threatened by closure, and developed them successfully,” said the company.

If Rio Tinto closes the plant, it would mean 500 job losses.