Century announces shutdown of WVa smelter

Posted by anzhuo on December 31st, 2015

    RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. (AP) Century Aluminum of West Virginia's Ravenswood smelter is closed and a majority of its 651 remaining employees will be laid off by Feb. 20, the company's parent said Wednesday.The shutdown is another blow to West Virginia's ailing manufacturing sector, which has been hit hard by the stumbling economy. Century blamed the closure on slumping aluminum prices, which had prompted it to idle one production line at the smelter already.''We deeply regret the impact of this action on our loyal employees and on the surrounding communities,'' plant manager Jim Chapman said in a statement. ''The Ravenswood smelter has been an integral part of western West Virginia's economy and culture for over 50 years. This action, while unfortunate, was not taken lightly.''Gov. Joe Manchin said he was saddened by the news and said he would work with Century to make sure any opportunities for the plant can be realized.Century Aluminum Co.'s chief executive, Logan Kruger, said in a statement that efforts to help simply couldn't compete with the slumping economy.

    ''These discussions were overcome by the continuing deterioration of the aluminum market and the uncertain business environment,'' he said.Aluminum prices have slumped to 66 cents a pound, from a high of about .50 a pound in June.Shares of the Monterey, Calif.-based company rose 2 cents to .04 in afternoon trading.

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