Consistent Growth Despite Previous Challenges
Asturiana de Zinc (Azsa), part of the Anglo-Swiss conglomerate Glencore, is on track to set a new production record at its San Juan de Nieva plant. After a brief halt in its eleven-year streak of production records in 2022, the company is poised for a strong comeback this year. The Castrillón factory has managed to avoid temporary power cuts due to high energy prices, a challenge it faced multiple times in 2022.
Full Capacity Operations and Expected Growth
The expansion of the electrolysis hall “E” at the plant is operating at full capacity. This increased operational efficiency means that Azsa has produced more zinc this year over more days compared to last year. The specific figures for the new zinc production record are expected to be announced next week, upon the closure of the 2023 fiscal year. With this anticipated growth, the San Juan de Nieva plant could advance from being among the world’s top three smelting plants to the top two.
Modernization and Workforce Changes
This increase in production is the result of a strategic focus on modernization, coupled with a reduction in personnel. The reduction, involving 95 jobs to be carried out until 2029, was agreed upon by the majority of the trade union in the works council, between the Independent Union of Workers of Asturiana de Zinc (SITAZ) and the company’s management.
Historical Context and Production Milestones
Asturiana’s significant capital increase in 2001 set the stage for its ambitious production goals. Since then, the company has consistently exceeded its targets. For example, in 2008, the factory melted 450,000 tons of zinc metal, and by 2019, this figure had increased by nearly 79,000 tons. Although there was a slight decline of 1.7 percent in production last year, the overall trend has been one of successive growth.
Significance of the Production Increase
The annual production figure holds significant importance, not just for the company’s standing in the global market, but also from an occupational perspective. It forms the basis for calculating a special bonus for the workforce, linking employee rewards directly to the company’s production success.
Outlook for Asturiana de Zinc
Azsa’s expected record production this year reflects its resilience and adaptability in the face of energy challenges and market fluctuations. This achievement highlights the company’s commitment to modernization and operational efficiency, ensuring its continued prominence in the global zinc production industry.