Century Aluminum of South Carolina, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Century Aluminum Company has issued a notice to employees at its Mt. Holly, South Carolina aluminium smelter of its intent to curtail plant operations if the smelter is unable to secure a competitively priced power arrangement to deliver energy to the plant.
The announcement was made pursuant to the federal Working Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
If a competitively priced power arrangement cannot be secured, Century Aluminum of South Carolina will curtail 100% of smelter operations by no later than December 31, 2015, when its current power contract with the South Carolina Public Service Authority, also known as Santee Cooper, to produce and deliver the required power expires. Santee Cooper's current rate to Mt. Holly is the highest rate paid by any U. S. smelter.
"Mt. Holly is the newest, most efficient and, except for its power costs, the lowest cost aluminium smelter in the U.S., with a dedicated and highly skilled workforce and a world class customer base," commented Michael Bless, President and Chief Executive Officer.
"We have reached agreement with a third-party provider to produce the required power at market rates. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach agreement with Santee Cooper to deliver such power to Mt. Holly despite Mt. Holly's offer to pay Santee the full transmission tariff rate -- the same rate Santee charges other customers seeking similar service. We remain resolved to finding a solution that will support the plant's continuing operations and preserve the plant's over 2000 direct and indirect jobs and over $945 million in annual economic impact to the region.
"Time is running short and, without a prompt agreement with Santee to deliver the energy, the Mt. Holly plant will close," Mr. Bless continued. "During these difficult times, our people remain dedicated to operating the plant safely and efficiently."