Century Says Hawesville Aluminium Smelter Curtailment Won’t Affect Mt. Holly

Century Says Hawesville Aluminium Smelter Curtailment Won’t Affect Mt. Holly

American primary aluminium producer Century Aluminum Company assured investors that the recent curtailment of production at its Hawesville facility will not affect operations at the Mount Holly aluminium smelter in South Carolina due to the differences in the way each facility’s power contracts are arranged.

Mount Holly’s manager Dennis Harbath told local media last week that the contract it has with state-owned power company Santee Cooper affords it with stable power costs through the end of next year.

“The Hawesville plant was set up a little differently than Mount Holly — they buy their power day-to-day.”

Harbath went on to say that the curtailment at the Kentucky plant “is not going to impact Mount Holly whatsoever.”

This is in stark contrast to the Hawesville smelter, which saw its power costs triple in only a few months.

The Mount Holly aluminium smelter on the other hand is currently conducting a US$100 million build out at the site, which includes the restart of one of the currently idled potlines. The site has brought back online about one-third of the potlines that were shuttered seven years ago thanks to power price stability. The site will continue to receive excess power generated by the nearby Winyah Generating Station through 2023 under the current arrangement.

Despite swelling the on-site workforce to 478 workers, Harbath said the plant “is still a little bit short of where we want it to be,” as management seeks to top out the workforce at about 500 by year’s end.

Upon the completion of the current expansion, the Mount Holly facility will be running at about 75 percent capacity. The expected yearly output will be 165 thousand metric tons, of which much of it will consist of aluminium billet and ingot.