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Alcoa breaks ground on Massena project

Jul 02, 2013 | 05:16 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Alcoa, John Martin, Massena plant, New York plant, Massena East, plant upgrade, potline, New York Power Authority NYPA

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc. has officially broken ground on work to upgrade its operations in Massena, N.Y., including the planned construction of a new potline at its Massena East facility.

The project is supported by a $10-million loan from the North Country Economic Development Loan Fund and a power agreement with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said July 1.

The groundbreaking represents "a major step forward for the modernization project," Cuomo said in a statement.

The project should help to build the region’s work force and bolster its economy, John D. Martin, president of U.S. primary products for the Pittsburgh-based aluminum company, said in a statement. "Alcoa is pleased to work with the state of New York and the community to ensure that we remain an integral part of the North Country’s economic development."

New York has committed to supplying 478 megawatts of low-cost electricity to Alcoa’s Massena complex, a move that Cuomo’s office said led the company to move forward with its modernization plans and allowed it to commit to retaining 1,000 jobs at the facility.

NYPA, the largest state power organization in the United States, and Alcoa have agreed to a hydropower contract that extends to 2045 with an option for Alcoa to extend the agreement until 2055, Cuomo’s office said.

Under the terms of the contract, agreed to in 2009, Alcoa committed to protecting approximately 1,000 jobs at its Massena operations and to making capital investments of at least $600 million, of which $42 million is represented by the potline expansion, the governor’s office said.

Alcoa was NYPA’s first customer and signed its original power contract with the state utility in 1955, three years before the operation of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) plant, NYPA’s first generation facility, Cuomo’s office said, noting that Alcoa’s Massena smelters account for about 60 percent of St. Lawrence-FDR’s generating output, and the aluminum producer is also the biggest employer in New York north of Syracuse.

Alcoa operates two smelters at its Massena facility that have a combined nameplate capacity of 252,000 tonnes per year, according to the company’s website.

Alcoa in late March announced plans to spend $52 million through 2015 as it looks to modernize its operations at Massena (, April 1).

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