American aluminium giant Alcoa Corporation announced on Tuesday that it plans to restart a trio of the five idled potlines at its Evansville, Indiana smelter.
The three potlines to be restarted at the Warrick smelter feature a combined capacity of 161,400 metric tons per annum. Idled in the spring of 2016, the process to restart these potlines will commence immediately, and the firm anticipates the process of restarting these lines will be completed in the second quarter of next year. According to Alcoa, these lines will provide the adjacent rolling mill with raw aluminium for beverage and food packaging.
“By restarting a portion of the Warrick smelter, we will provide an efficient source of metal for the co-located rolling mill and help it meet an anticipated increase in production volumes,” explained the President of Alcoa’s Aluminum business unit Tim Reyes. “The action will enable us to more fully utilize the assets at this integrated site for the benefit of our investors, customers, employees and the community.”
The Warrick mill employs about 1,250 individuals at present, which is expected to increase by 275 thanks to the potlines’ restart. Many of those who will be employed at the newly-opened potline will be formerly laid-off employees recalled to the plant.
In addition to purely economic factors, Alcoa’s decision to restart three potlines at Warrick was influenced by tax breaks and incentives totaling US$2.5 million offered by the state government.
“With its decision to restart operations in Indiana, Alcoa is showcasing the value that this facility and Indiana’s manufacturing expertise provide to its global operations,” opined Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “In Indiana, we’re witnessing incredible momentum as manufacturers continue to choose Indiana for growth, and we’re pleased that Alcoa once again chose Indiana.”
In addition to the restart of three potlines at Warrick, Alcoa announced an agreement with Evansville utility firm Vectren Corporation to jointly operate a 300-megawatt power-generation facility necessary for powering the restarted capacity. The agreement, which is a 50-50 partnership between the two firms, runs through the end of 2023.
“Restarting the operations of the smelter is a significant economic development win, and we were pleased to play an important role in helping make this a reality,” said Vectren’s Chairman, President and CEO Carl Chapman.
“We appreciate the assistance and collaboration with numerous stakeholders in this process, including our employees, United Steelworkers Local 104, Vectren, and the local and state officials who have all provided support in our work to strengthen the integrated operation here in Southwestern Indiana,” Ed Hemmersbach, Vice President of Operations for Alcoa Aluminum, chimed in.