The second largest aluminum mill in the United States has idled operations, laying off about 600 American workers, due to “untenable” electricity and energy prices.
In June, Century Aluminum Co. executives announced that they would idle the Hawesville, Kentucky aluminum mill for about 9 to 12 months as a result of skyrocketing prices to merely keep the plant’s lights on.
Similarly, executives with two steel mills are suspending operations because they cannot afford the costs of energy to keep the plants open. This comes after executives warned federal regulators about debilitating energy prices months ago.
On June 22, 600 workers at the second-largest aluminum mill in America, accounting for 20% of US supply, learned they were losing their jobs because the plant can’t afford an electricity tab that’s tripled in a matter of months. Century Aluminum Co. says it’ll idle the Hawesville, Kentucky, mill for as long as a year, taking out the biggest of its three US sites. A shutdown like this can take a month as workers carefully swirl the molten metal into storage so it doesn’t solidify in pipes and vessels and turn the entire facility into a useless brick. Restarting takes another six to nine months. For this reason, owners don’t halt operations unless they’ve exhausted all other options. [Emphasis added]