Fu­ture of Rio Tinto smelter in spot­light

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

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