Alcoa recently announced plans to restart three of five potlines at its Warrick Operations aluminum smelter near Evansville, Indiana. The process to restart the three lines, with 161,400 metric tons of annual capacity, will begin immediately and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2018.
The three potlines will directly supply the Warrick rolling mill, which serves the North American market with flat-rolled aluminum for the food and beverage can packaging industry. The smelter’s molten metal will supplement purchased scrap metal and other raw materials that the Warrick site will continue to procure.
"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," said Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa’s aluminum business unit. "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 smelter closed in March 2016. Two of the five smelting potlines will be classified as curtailed capacity and will remain idle. After this partial restart, Alcoa will have approximately 886,000 metric tons idled of its total smelting capacity of 3.4 million metric tons.
The Warrick location currently employs about 1,250 people. The restart will increase the site’s employment by approximately 275, including those who will be hired or recalled from layoff status. Some existing employees will transfer to the smelter.
The state of Indiana, through the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), and Warrick County provided preliminary assistance to support the restart plan. The IEDC offered Alcoa up to $2.4 million in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on plans to add new full-time jobs for Indiana residents.
The Warrick Operations is comprised of the smelter and the rolling operations, which includes state-of-the-art casting, hot and cold rolling, slitting and coating capabilities. The operations also include the power supply for the smelter and rolling operations, consisting of a coal mine that fuels four generating units with a combined net capacity of about 750 megawatts. Three of those units are wholly owned by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. A fourth unit, Warrick Unit 4, with 300 megawatts of net capacity, is owned in a 50-50 partnership with Vectren, a utility headquartered in Evansville.
As part of the smelter restart plan, Alcoa Power Generating Inc. and Vectren have agreed to jointly own and operate Unit 4 through 2023.
For more information, visit www.alcoa.com.