Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, Norsk Hydro is set to close its majority-owned primary aluminium production at the Slovalco aluminium facility in Slovakia.

The closure of primary aluminium production is to start shortly and be completed by the end of next month.

Norsk Hydro owns a 55.3% interest in the Slovalco plant while the remaining stake of 44.7% is held by Penta Investments Group.

The Slovalco facility has a 175,000tpa aluminium production capacity and is currently operating at only 60% capacity of 105,000tpa.

The firm said that the decision comes in response to adverse framework conditions and surging electricity prices that show no signs of falling in the short term.

Norsk Hydro said that the casthouse will continue its recycling operation in Slovalco, providing 75,000tpa of recycled aluminium.

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Slovalco board of directors chair and Hydro’s primary production head Ola Sæter said: “Slovalco is a well-run and modern primary aluminium plant, well-placed to serve European customers with high-quality aluminium products. I regret that it has not been possible to secure the continued operation of the primary production at the plant.

“Slovakia has not implemented the competitive EU CO2 compensation framework. This has prevented Slovalco from entering long-term power contracts and the plant’s current contract expires at the end of 2022.

“Due to the current Slovak framework conditions and the European power prices, Slovalco would incur substantial financial losses if it continued its operation beyond 2022.”

Norsk Hydro plans to mothball primary production lines at the Slovalco facility and may resume operations at a later stage depending on feasible market and framework conditions.

The closure is expected to impact 300 workers at the Slovalco facility.

The firm said it has started a process to assist these employees.