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LONDON (Reuters) -Miner and commodity trader Glencore will put its zinc sulphide operation in Portovesme, Italy, on care and maintenance until there is "a meaningful change in power market prices", the company said on Monday.
The plant, which has capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year, will enter care and maintenance by the end of December at the latest.
European power prices have soared this year, mainly because of the rising price of natural gas used for power generation and heating, low renewable energy output and higher carbon prices.
"This decision has been taken due to high power prices experienced in Italy and the rest of Europe," Glencore said.
"As an electro-intensive industry, Portovesme is highly dependent on competitive and stable electricity prices."
The decision, which affects about 400 direct employees, will continue to be reviewed against the backdrop of the European energy market, Glencore said.
Glencore's zinc recyling and lead production facilities at Portovesme will continue as normal.
The company produced 787,200 tonnes of zinc in Europe last year.
Global zinc production is estimated at about 14 million tonnes this year, with about half of that expected to come from China, the world's largest producer.
(Reporting by Pratima DesaiEditing by David Goodman)