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Alcoa to shut two potlines at Massena East

Jan 15, 2014 | 06:05 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Alcoa, Bob Wilt, Massena East, Massena, N.Y., smelter, potline, shutdown aluminum

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc. plans to permanently shut the two operating potlines at its Massena East, N.Y., smelter.

“We are taking decisive action to close the remaining potlines, given they are no longer competitive,” Bob Wilt, president of Alcoa’s global primary products division, said in a statement Jan. 15.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum company said the shutdown, expected to be completed in the first quarter, would slash its smelting capacity by 84,000 tonnes.

One of three potlines at the Massena East operations was shuttered in August (, Aug. 14). Alcoa declined to reveal whether shutting the other two potlines would result in the permanent shutdown of the Massena East plant. “All we are announcing is the permanent closure of the remaining two potlines,” a company spokeswoman told AMM in an e-mail Jan. 15.

The company also declined to disclose how workers would be affected by the shutdown.
“We will work with the local unions to minimize the impact on jobs,” the spokeswoman said.

The shutdown is expected to cost $60 million to $70 million in restructuring charges in the first quarter, the company said.

Alcoa said it will continue to run its Massena West facilities. The West plant produces 800,000 pounds of molten aluminum daily, according to the company’s website.

Alcoa, which last year said it aimed to cut up to 460,000 tonnes of smelter capacity in response to swooning aluminum prices (, May 1), has announced capacity closures or curtailments of 361,000 tonnes since May.

Once the potlines are shutdown at Massena East, Alcoa will have operating smelting capacity of nearly 4 million tonnes, with 655,000 tonnes of capacity idle, the company said.

Alcoa broke ground on work to upgrade its operations in Massena, including the planned construction of a new potline at the Massena East facility in July (, July 2).

“There are no changes to the overall modernization project schedule at Massena East,” the spokeswoman said. "We will conduct a financial review at the end of 2015 and move forward subject to board approval.”

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