century alum 300HENDERSON, Ky. (6/18/13) - Officials with Century Aluminum took the first step last week towards solidifying the status of Rio Tinto’s Alcan Sebree Works Smelter by completing the acquisition of the plant and its 500 employees.

The future of both plants has been in question since Century notified Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric in August 2012 that it intended to cease electric service in 12 months.

That was the first domino to fall in a series of events that threatened the economic fabric of the surrounding counties. In January 2013 Big River’s filed for a more than 20% rate increase with the Public Service Commission in Frankfort, stating that with the loss of its biggest customer that it would need to recoup money from everyone else.

A few weeks later Rio Tinto notified Big Rivers that it also intended to cease electrical operations.

Alcan officials stated that it was paying around $50 per megawatt-hour (mWh). The proposed increase would take them to about $60, which officials report is considerably higher than the national average paid by American aluminum smelters. $60 a mWh would be around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The battle, in the end, moved to the state capitol, where legislators debated over the right of the two smelters to purchase electricity on the open market.

In mid-April Century issued a conditional notice to employees at its Hawesville, KY aluminum smelter of its intent to curtail 100% of plant operations on August 20, 2013 if the plant could not secure a competitively priced power contract. The announcement was made pursuant to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). The company also gave conditional notice to terminate its supply contract with its largest customer, the Southwire Company, given the potential plant closure effective August 20.

On April 30, 2013 Big Rivers and Century reached a tentative agreement. Under the provision, the electric supplier would purchase the power on the open market and then pass it to Century at market price, plus the additional costs incurred by the transmission.

A day later, in a joint press release from Big Rivers, Kenergy and Century, it was announced that Alcan had signed an Asset Sale Agreement with Montery, California based Century Aluminum. Century agreed to pay $61 million dollars for the Sebree based facility, and assume ownership of an addition $4 million dollars in liabilities.

Last week Century Aluminum Company announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary had completed the transaction with Rio Tinto Alcan, Inc. to acquire substantially all of the assets of the Sebree aluminum smelter.

“We are really happy to welcome the men and women of Sebree to Century,” commented Michael Bless, President and CEO. “With the changes occurring in U.S. energy markets, we believe Sebree, along with our existing smelter at Hawesville, will be competitive in the global market. We see a great opportunity for these facilities, which are located about 60 miles apart, to work together and share best practices in pursuit of safety and operational excellence.

“Access to market-based power is a critical enabler for sustained operations at Hawesville and Sebree. We believe the framework reached with the power provider for market-priced energy for Hawesville will serve as a model for Sebree.”

Deeds filed in the Webster County Clerk's Office record the transfer of properties in Webster and Henderson Counties from Alcan Primary Products Corporation to Century Aluminum Sebree LLC, presumed to be the future name of the facility.

Century Aluminum Company owns primary aluminum capacity in the United States and Iceland. Century’s corporate offices are located in Chicago, Illinois.

The Sebree smelter, located in Henderson County, Kentucky, employs over 500 people and has an annual production capacity of 205,000 metric tons of primary aluminum.

Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Former Webster Coach Hart Headed into KABC Court of Honor

WINCHESTER, Ky. (2/26/15) — Former Webster County High School head coach Bev Hart is among the boys' coaches who will… Read More

Eagles Outlast Daviess County, 42-39

OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/26/15) — Junior guard Eli Wright scored a game-high 18 points and sophomore forward Trace Young… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6822

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 5901

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 5829

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 24, 2015 5826

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5622

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 5303

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 26, 2015 2767

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 2697

Woman Charged for Allegedly Selling Hydrocodone

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 1942

Area College Students Touched by Cancer are…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1898

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
February 26, 2015 1832

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 26, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 26, 2015 1777

Probation and Parole Violators - February 26,…

in Video by Crime Stoppers
February 26, 2015 1582

Super Sunday Hall of Fame Alumni Honored College…

in Top News For All Sites by Joyce Riggs
February 26, 2015 1459

Walmart Evacuated after Customer Alerts 911 of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1173

Gov. Beshear Announces NASCO Expansion in Bowling…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
February 26, 2015 1088

Lions Man, Woman of Year Announced

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Findley