Century Aluminium’s Ravenswood smelter in West Virginia, USA, will re-open ‘at some point in time’, according to the company’s CEO Michael Bless.
Speaking to the Charleston Daily Mail, Bless said that he wanted to re-open the plant ‘sooner rather than later’ but admitted that the price of electricity was a big stumbling block.
Back in 2009, with aluminium prices going through the floor, Ravenswood closed and 650 workers lost their jobs. At the time, the price per metric ton of aluminium was $1,400. Last year, when prices began to rise, Century set the ball rolling on a restart.
In 2008, the year before Ravenswood closed, Century was paying $108M/y for electricity. By today’s prices, that figure has gone up to between $148 and $150M.
According to Bless, aluminium prices would have to be above $2,500/mt for a re-opened Ravenswood to be profitable. However, long-term forecasts point to $2,450/mt for the next decade.
With this in mind, Century is looking to negotiate a special power deal involving a three-pronged plan of coal severance tax credits in the region of $20M per annum as well as relying upon other power customers to absorb some of Ravenswood’s fixed costs. There are also plans to rope in residential ratepayers into Ravenswood’s recovery, which has led to public protests.
The tax credits element of the plan involves the plant being able to guarantee it will remain open over the next decade, something that Bless believes is achievable.