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Century Aluminum to fully restart Hawesville

12 Mar 2018 16:44 GMT
Century Aluminum to fully restart Hawesville

Houston, 12 March (Argus) — Glencore subsidiary Century Aluminum will restart all production at its largest US primary smelter in Hawesville, Kentucky, following new Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Hawesville smelter has five pot lines, three of which have been idled since 2015. A full restart would add 150,000 metric tonnes (t)/yr of production by mid/late-2019 at an estimated cost of $115mn. The smelter has a rated capacity of 252,000 t/yr.

"The restart of that curtailed capacity has been dependent on an effective trade remedy...and we strongly believe the president's proclamation achieves that objective," chief executive Michael Bless said today.

Late last week, President Donald Trump confirmed that 10pc tariffs on most aluminum products exported to the US would take effect on 23 March, but exempted Canada and Mexico. Australia said it also has been exempted.

In addition to restarting production at Hawesville, Century plans to reline all five reduction lines.

The facility's four lines capable of producing high-purity aluminum, used in military grade and electrical grid applications, will cost a total of $80mn to rebuild. Line 5, which produces lower purity P1020 primary aluminum, will cost $13mn to rebuild because not all pots require maintenance.

Another Century smelter could be target for restart because of low operational costs. The Mt Holly, South Carolina, primary smelter in South Carolina is running at 50pc of its 229,000 t/yr capacity, but the location lacks a long-term electricity agreement, making plans for its future uncertain, Bless said.

Separately, ARG International subsidiary Magnitude 7 Metals plans to restart primary production in New Madrid County, Missouri, at Noranda Aluminum's old smelter after securing an electricity deal, state officials told Argus last week.