Glencore in Talks on Power for
by Natalie Doss
Glencore International AG, the world's largest commodities trader, is negotiating a power supply contract that may lead to the restart of an aluminum smelter in Montana, a local union said.
Glencore, Bonneville Power Administration and a group of Montana congressman have been in "heavy" discussions for about six weeks, said Brian Doyle, a spokesman for the Aluminum Workers Trades Council, a union representing employees of Glencore's Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. unit.
"There are open discussions between Glencore and BPA," Doyle said today in a telephone interview, citing his discussions with the congressmen. "There's something in the works."
Columbia Falls, which Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore acquired in 1999, has an annual production capacity of 168,000 metric tons. Glencore began reducing output in 2000 because of rising electricity costs and shut the unit in October last year.
Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus and Representative Dennis Rehberg began pushing BPA to negotiate with Glencore after the union asked them to apply pressure, Doyle said. Restarting the plant could potentially add 350 jobs, Tester said in a Dec. 6 statement. Columbia Falls, also known as CFAC, previously employed as many as 600 people, Doyle said.
"BPA is in discussion with CFAC and we're hopeful that we can reach an agreement," Katie Pruder-Scruggs, a spokeswoman for Portland, Oregon-based BPA, said in an e-mailed statement.
Marc Ocskay, a spokesman for Glencore, declined to comment.
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