Century CEO: Trump Aluminium Tariffs Make Hawesville Capacity Restart Possible

hawesville aluminium smelter century

Though the opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump’s invocation of an across-the-board 10-percent tariff upon all aluminium imports has been nearly unanimous, the country’s most prolific producer of primary aluminium went on record last week to say the tariffs are likely to benefit the firm to such a degree that the restart of a significant slice of its capacity is now all but certain.

In a press release disseminated hours after Trump signed the enabling documents, Century Aluminum’s President and CEO Michael Bless spoke in glowing terms of the coming import tariffs.

“We strongly support today’s signing of the Presidential Proclamation by President Donald J. Trump that will impose broad comprehensive relief to stop the flood of aluminum imports into the United States. President Trump’s decisive action protects thousands of American aluminum workers from countries that cheat and puts U.S. national security first. We commend President Trump for acting swiftly and boldly on the aluminum sec. 232 to save the American aluminum industry.”

Bless continued by announcing that the Hawesville smelter, which is the country’s sole remaining smelter capable of producing the high-purity aluminium required for certain military and defense products, will soon restart the 60 percent of its capacity that is now idled.

“We look forward to working with Governor Matt Bevin and Kentucky’s Economic Development Cabinet to begin the process of restarting the idled potlines at our Hawesville, Kentucky smelter, bringing back nearly 300 new American jobs to Hancock County, and investing over $100 million to restart and upgrade the smelters technology.”

Though no further details regarding a timetable for restart were provided, Century said that such details would be forthcoming in the next several weeks.

Founded by Glencore in 1995 as a holding company for the firm’s aluminium assets, Century became a publicly-traded company the following spring. The firm now operates two smelters in Kentucky, one in South Carolina, and one in Iceland. Century boasts an annual primary aluminium production capacity of over 1 million metric tons per annum.

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