Alcoa Corp. to permanently close Suriname refinery and mines

Alcoa Corp. said Wednesday that it will permanently close the alumina refinery and bauxite mines in Suriname that were pillars of the economy in the South American nation until the company halted operations there in November 2015.

Alcoa said it would continue to operate the Afobaka hydroelectric facility, which supplied power to the refinery, pending agreements with the government on the disposition of Alcoa's remaining assets in Suriname. The company was also working out issues related to environmental remediation related to its operations.

Surinamese officials have said they intend to eventually take control of the dam, but Alcoa declined to comment on when that might occur.

The halting of refinery operations was a major blow to the economy of Suriname, a country that has been struggling with lower prices for its commodity exports and high inflation. U.S.-based Alcoa has been shrinking its aluminum business, which has been hurt by lower prices.

Alcoa said only a "handful" of employees remain on site. As a result of the closure, the company said that it would record $90 million in restructuring charges in the fourth quarter of 2016 and that its total share of costs associated with the closure would amount to an estimated $151 million over five years.