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Alcoa to Announce Fate of Australia Point Henry Smelter Friday

By Robb M. Stewart MELBOURNE--Alcoa Inc. (AA) said it will announce later Friday the result of a review into the viability of its struggling Point Henry aluminum smelter near Melbourne. The company has been in negotiations with the federal and Victoria state governments over options for the smelter since the review was launched in February. The smelter has been losing money as it has struggled against low metal prices, a high Australian dollar and rising production costs. The Point Henry operation in Geelong employs about 600 people and produces about 190,000 tons of aluminum a year. Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY.OS) said in May it would close its Kurri Kurri plant near Newcastle in Australia's New South Wales state, which employed 344 people and produced about 120,000 tons of aluminum a year. The Norwegian company had already shut one of the three production lines at the operation in January, leading to the loss of 150 jobs. Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

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