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Alcoa cutting back operations in Australia

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Alcoa Inc. says it will close an aluminum smelter and two mills in Australia by the end of the year.

Alcoa says it has been studying options for a 50-year-old smelter in Geelong, Victoria, for two years and will close it in August. The smelter has about 500 workers.

A rolling mill near the smelter and another mill and recycling center in Yennora, New South Wales, will close by year end. They employ an additional 480 people.

Faced with stubbornly low prices for aluminum due to global overcapacity, Alcoa has been idling and closing smelters to reduce capacity.

The company expects to take restructuring charges against earnings of between $250 million and $270 million, or 22 cents to 25 cents per share, with 60 percent in the first quarter.

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