American primary aluminium producer Century Aluminum Company is temporarily closing down its Hawesville, Kentucky aluminium smelter due to a precipitous rise in energy costs. Such was the message conveyed by the firm on Wednesday.
Century says the plant will commence the idling process on Monday and is likely to remain idle for between nine and twelve months, in which time the firm hopes that energy prices “return to more normalized levels.”
Jesse Gary, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a press release that the cost of powering the plant has risen by almost three times since the Russian invasion of Ukraine this spring.
“This unprecedented rise in global energy prices arising from the Russian war in Ukraine has dramatically increased the price of energy in the U.S. and around the globe. The power cost required to run our Hawesville, KY, facility has more than tripled the historical average in a very short period. Unfortunately, this makes it necessary to temporarily curtail operations for approximately nine to twelve months until energy prices return to more normalized levels. We are confident that energy prices will moderate in the next year and believe strongly in the future prospects of the Hawesville smelter given its recent performance and the continuing important role it plays in US national security.”
“Our dedicated and highly-skilled employees are like family to us, and we are saddened that the current energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine has forced us to take this action,” Gary continued. “We will work with all of our employees to help them identify local unemployment resources and training opportunities.”
Century’s Hawesville aluminium smelter is its largest facility in the United States and is also the most prolific producer of military-grade aluminium on the continent. The firm says it will continue to explore options for avoiding the shutdown. Century reassured investors that it has no plans to idle any other of its plants at present.