Of the 515 people currently employed at the smelter, 323 will be made redundant in May 2012.

Some operational activity in the smelter’s carbon and casting plants will continue in 2012.

The company’s ship unloading facility at the Port of Blyth will continue to operate for around 18 months and will be used to store and transport raw materials for the Lochaber Smelter in the Scottish Highlands until a more permanent solution is put in place.

A team of 60 employees will remain on site beyond the closure of all operations to work on decommissioning, remediation and regional economic development.

Rio Tinto Alcan CEO Jacynthe Cote said chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan said: “We will now focus on safely decommissioning the plant, working with our employees to mitigate the impact of redundancy on them and their families and partnering with all interested stakeholders on the future regional economic development of the Lynemouth site.”

On the closure of smelting operations, Rio Tinto Alcan will deploy its own Regional Economic Development (RED) programme with the objective of working alongside other agencies on long-term regeneration and job creation opportunities on the site. The company will also consider third-party interest in Lynemouth’s carbon and casting plants.

Talks on the sale of Lynemouth Power Station are on-going and are expected to be concluded in the coming months.