Alcoa (NYSE: AA) announced Thursday it will permanently close its smelter operations in Warrick County by the end of March. Our partners at WTVW-TV in Evansville report the closure will result in the loss of about 600 jobs, around 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.
"We recognize how deeply this decision impacts employees and we are committed to work closely with our employees, unions and community stakeholders to support them through this transition," said Roy Harvey, president of Alcoa’s global primary products. "Despite the hard work of employees, these assets are not competitive. We’re confident that these actions are the right ones in face of these challenging market conditions. We are committed to creating a resilient business ready for launch as an independent company in 2016."
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.