Alcoa announced Thursday it will permanently close its smelter in Warrick County by the end of March. The closure will result in the loss of about 600 jobs, about one-third of the company’s local work force.
The 269,000 metric ton smelter is part of Alcoa’s Warrick Operations. While the smelter is closing, Alcoa says the rolling mill and power plant at Warrick Operations will continue to operate.
The company said the decision was made due to a drop in aluminum prices. It says prices dropped approximately 30 percent in 2015 with the Alumina Price Index falling about 40 percent.
Roy Harvey is president of Alcoa’s global primary products. He says while the company recognizes how deeply the decision impacts employees they are committed to work closely with employees, unions and community stakeholders to support them through the transition. He says despite the hard work of employees, assets are not competitive and he says company officials are confident that these actions are the right ones in face of challenging market conditions.
In October, the company opened up a $100 million aerospace facility in LaPorte, which is expected to create nearly 330 jobs. The company also has a location in Lafayette.
Alcoa will also shut down its remaining 810,000 metric tons of refining capacity at its Point Comfort operations in Texas by the end of second quarter 2016.