By Paul Ploumis (ScrapMonster Author)
March 29, 2016 01:53:47 PM
EVANSVILLE (Scrap Monster): Aluminum major, Alcoa has permanently closed its aluminum smelter at Warrick County, along the Ohio river in Indiana. The company had earlier announced that it would close the smelter operations by end-March this year. The company was forced to shut operations at the 56 year old smelter due to drastic drop in aluminum prices, which made it financially unviable for them to run the smelter operations.
According to the company, almost 325 out of the 600 people who worked at the smelter would be laid off. The remaining 275 employees have either expressed their willingness to accept severance or retirement packages or have already found new jobs. Meantime, operations will continue uninterrupted at the plant’s rolling mill and power plant which employs nearly 1,200 people.
Alexander Alford, Alcoa’s smelting division location manager termed the closure as the end of an era. He admitted that it would be a tough day for hundreds of employees who have been working in the smelter for many long years. He thanked the dedication and professionalism of employees in their efforts to safely bring down the smelter over the past two months. Meantime, United Steelworkers Local 104 has applied for Trade Adjustment Assistance with the US Department of Labor. It stated that a resource fair will be hosted next week for smelter workers who are affected by the layoffs.
Alcoa announced that it intends to curtail alumina output by nearly 1 million mt by end of second quarter this year. This is inclusive of the planned curtailment of 810,000 mt of refining capacity at its Point Comfort operations in Texas.
The Warrick smelter's five potlines had a production capacity of 269,000 metric tons of aluminum a year. Warrick operations were one of the largest aluminum smelting and fabricating facilities in the world. The company had completed an investment of more than $400 million in 2008, to upgrade the plant’s pollution control mechanisms.