Ziar nad Hronom, January 9 (TASR) - Slovalco in Ziar nad Hronom (Banska Bystrica region) is shutting down the last ten furnaces for producing primary aluminium, Peter Otapka from joint-stock company Slovalco has told TASR, adding that the decision was approved by the company's shareholders on Monday. After almost 70 years, this is the definitive end of aluminium production in Ziar nad Hronom. Otapka added that by shutting down production, Europe and Slovakia will be forced to procure aluminium from countries such as Russia and China where aluminium production has fundamentally more negative impacts on the environment. "The shutdown of ecological production is the result of the government's inaction - the Environment Ministry and former Finance Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO). During the last years, they blocked the adoption of an amendment to Act 414/2012 that would adjust the amount of compensation for energy-intensive enterprises to the level of other industrialised EU countries. These are financial resources that Slovakia receives from the EU and can only spend on clearly defined purposes, including compensation," said Slovalco. CEO Milan Vesely emphasised that Slovalco could have concluded a long-term contract for the supply of electricity at a time when the energy crisis wasn't mentioned anywhere, and could thus continue to supply its customers with products with a low carbon footprint. The company originally operated 226 electrolytic furnaces, in which, however, production was gradually reduced and last August it decided to keep only the last ten furnaces in operation, which would facilitate the restart in case of approval of the above-mentioned amendment. Since this didn't happen, it decided to put out of operation the remaining furnaces for good. According to Vesely, the factory will maintain the technology in such a state that it can be restarted. However, this will cost several million euros per year, and the cost of restarting the 226 furnaces is estimated at almost €100 million. The company will gradually dismiss all employees. Vesely added that the staff is being offered above-standard severance pay. For those employed the longest in the amount of 17 monthly salaries.
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