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Alcan Employees Mark Project

For almost 40 years the Rio Tinto (formerly Alcan) aluminium smelter was a major employer at Lynemouth in south-east Northumberland. Following the announcement of its closure in 2011, Northumberland Archives with financial support of the Rio Tinto Group, ran an oral history project to collect memories and gather information from those working in different parts of the business during the 4 decades. About 30 people were involved many of whom were longstanding employees.

On Tuesday 10th March many of these former members of staff came together at Woodhorn to hear about the work undertaken and to meet old colleagues. For a couple of hours they chatted and reminisced about their experiences at the aluminium smelter and their involvement with the history project.

The Alcan Aluminium Smelter at Lynemouth opened in 1972. The smelter was a major employer: at its height it provided work for more than 1000 people, many of whom had previously been employed in the coal industry. Production at the smelter ceased on 29 March 2012.

A set of images on Flickr celebrates the work of the plant and the achievements of the workforce. The images form part of a larger deposit of material relating to the history of the plant. You can find these here: