Noranda laying off employees

Noranda Aluminum is laying off employees and suspending an expansion project after Missouri regulators rejected its request for lower electricity rates.

Company officials announced the cutbacks Tuesday while saying they also intend to ask the Missouri Public Service Commission to reconsider its decision.

Noranda employees nearly 900 people at its aluminum smelter in New Madrid. The Franklin, Tennessee-based company says it already has begun the process of eliminating 125 to 200 jobs over the next six months.

Noranda also is suspending a $30 million expansion project in southeast Missouri and is considering whether to build a $45 million aluminum rod mill in a neighboring state.

Noranda had sought a 25 percent reduction in the electricity rates it pays to Ameren Missouri, which would have resulted in higher rates for other customers.