Future of Rio Tinto smelter in spotlight
THE SCOTTISH Government has been accused of ‘stalling’ on what it knows about the future of Rio Tinto.
Highland and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant believes Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s economy minister held back on what is known about the Lochaber smelter.
The Labour representative put questions to the government regarding Rio Tinto’s consultation with stakeholders and staff, and was told Mr Brown would reply as soon as possible.
Mrs Grant is now questioning whether Nicola Sturgeon’s presence in Fort William tomorrow to deliver the Charles Kennedy memorial lecture might indicate an announcement from the aluminium company is imminent.
She said: ‘ This is another occasion where you suspect the government knows more than it is telling the public and hiding behind a cloak of company confidentiality.
‘There is a lot hanging on this crucial industry in Lochaber, with 150 jobs directly employed and many more supported in the wider community.
‘The whole process has lacked transparency.
‘There is a lot hanging on this crucial industry in Lochaber with 150 jobs directly employed and many more supported in the wider community. The whole process has lacked transparency.’
Mrs Grant also wrote to Rio Tinto’s vice president of business development, Patrick Tobin, who replied that the company had made a point of trying to provide information when possible to all stakeholders in order for the facts to be out in the open.
He added: ‘This being said, both ourselves and the identified bidders continue to share an understanding that the best outcomes will emerge once we have fully shared our views and scenarios for all of the assets, something which neither party wishes to do in a public forum given the commercially sensitive nature of the discussions.’