A METALS company has announced it is to invest £28m in its North-East aluminium smelting plant.

It is one of the largest investments to be made by Alcan Primary Metal in a single project at Lynemouth, Northumberland, during the past ten years.

The cash injection represents a major commitment to the future of the 30-year-old plant and its 670 employees.

Since 1992, Alcan has invested about £145m at its smelter and power station at Lynemouth.

The last major investment was in the period 1996 to 1997 when the company spent a total of £50m over two years to upgrade and refurbish Potline One.

The investment will be spent on modifying the carbon plant where anodes are produced for use in the manufacturing process at Lyne-mouth and at a sister smelter at Lochaber, in Scotland.

Work is now under way and is due for completion by the end of next year. As a result, Alcan will increase the amount of aluminium produced at the two smelters by a total of about 16,000 tonnes a year.