New Zealand Aluminium Smelters will immediately halt $70 million in planned capital expenditure, including $15 million for the rest of this year and next year.
Capital work that is critical to business operations and health, safety and environment will continue.
This follows a review of all capital and major maintenance project expenditure.
Tiwai Point plant general manager Ryan Cavanagh said: "Given the extremely challenging market conditions, halting project work on site is one of a number of actions being taken to try and return NZAS to viability as quickly as possible.
"Other initiatives include the completion of an organisational restructure, including implementing redundancies, by the end of November," Mr Cavanagh said.
"NZAS is losing money. We are continuing to work with all of our key suppliers and stakeholders to reduce costs and grow revenues.
"NZAS is working closely with impacted contractors and suppliers to ensure the project work is stopped in a safe and orderly manner," Mr Cavanagh said.
Trevor Hobbs, Southland organiser for the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, said the news was concerning.
"It’s likely to have a lay-off effect in the Southland businesses that support the smelter."
Mr Hobbs said said he had asked NZAS how much of the $70 million would have been spent in Southland but the company couldn’t tell him.
"I would imagine this will immediately have a flow-on effect into the Southland economy. But to what effect I don’t know, because I don’t know what portion of that money would have been spent here."
- The Southland Times