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Aleris furnace damaged more than thought

Keywords: Tags  Aleris International, Virginia plant, fire, damage, furnace outage, repairs, customer impact, aluminum Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — Aleris International Inc.’s Richmond, Va., facility might not be fully operational for two to three weeks, a company spokesman told AMM, noting that a fire at the plant last week caused more furnace damage than previously thought.

The Beachwood, Ohio-based aluminum producer discovered the damage during an initial assessment over the weekend, he said April 30. Repair and restoration efforts are currently under way.

"We are taking more time to make sure it is completely restored and done right," the spokesman said.

Customers of the Virginia facility will be served from additional production at other company operations, the spokesman said.

"Fortunately, Aleris and its customer base benefit from redundant capacity through our ownership of three fully integrated rolling mills," he said. "We are confident that this capacity will significantly mitigate the impact of the incident and create minimal disruption."

The spokesman couldn’t immediately say whether additional shifts were being added, or if so at which facilities. "We will adjust as necessary to meet customer needs," he said.

It’s still too early to estimate the cost of the damages related to the fire, which broke out April 24 (, April 25), the spokesman said.

Aleris said last week that it had resumed finishing and cold-rolling operations at Richmond, and that damage to the plant appeared to be minimal (, April 26).

The Richmond facility produces 3025 aluminum sheet from recycled material, which is then used to make products such as gutters, downspouts and aluminum siding.

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