century aluminum 300WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (5/3/13) - After nearly three months of debates, which went from the board room to the state capital, the nearly 2,000 employees of three western Kentucky companies can breathe a little easier after the announcement that Century Aluminum plans to purchase Rio Tinto Alcan’s Sebree Works Smelter.

The first quarter of 2013 has been tense, as Kenergy Customers and employees of Big Rivers, Rio Tinto Alcan’s Sebree Smelter and Century Aluminum’s Hawesville Smelter waited to see what would come of the battle being fought over utility rates.

Rio Tinto Alcan’s Sebree Works Aluminum Smelter gave notice to Big Rivers Electric and Kenergy on Friday February 1, 2013 that they would be ending their power contract in 12 months, following the lead of Century Aluminum of Hawesville who filed similar paperwork in August. The notice from Alcan came as Big Rivers Electric Corp. was seeking a rate increase citing the impending loss of Century.

Rio Tinto, a UK based mining and processing company, says that after a review of their 2011 aluminum assets, it was concluded that the Sebree Smelter no longer fit with their long-term strategy. The rate increase caused by the expected loss of Century likely sped up the announcement.

The two aluminum smelters are the biggest customers of Kenergy, who in turn purchases their power from Big Rivers. The smelters provide as much as 70% of Kenergy’s annual income.

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

Sebree Works produced 205,000 tonnes of primary aluminum in 2012. The facility is estimated to support 1,800 jobs both directly and indirectly in the region, and contributes about $200 million a year to Kentucky through taxes, salaries and procurements.

With the purchase of the Sebree Works Smelter, Century Aluminum seems to be making a statement that they are planning on remaining in Western Kentucky.

“After months of negotiations, both parties have come to a framework for an agreement that will allow Century Aluminum to access market power,” said Marty Littrel, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Big Rivers Electric Corporation. “There is still a lot of work and specifics to be accomplished over the coming weeks as many approvals from various parties will be required.”

Once the agreement is in place, it still does not negate the need for an increase in wholesale electric rates.

“This arrangement is intended to have no impact to Big Rivers’ current rate proposal,” said Littrel. “All along, our main objective has been to help Century remain open but make sure our customers would not experience an even higher rate increase if Century remained open and bought power from the market.”

Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© 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.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 13, 2015 6129

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 4717

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 3309

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 11, 2015 2948

Juvenile Injured When Struck by Vehicle

by Madisonville Police
April 12, 2015 2777

Police Searching for Hopkinsville Man Accused of…

by Paul Ray, HPD

Most Read This Month

March 18, 2015 10035

UPDATE: Hanson Man Located in Henderson, Taken to…

by Trooper Stu Recke
April 02, 2015 8418

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 17, 2015 1934

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 17, 2015 881

Madisonville Police Reports Released

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 17, 2015 856

Two Charged in Connection with Powderly Firearms…

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 702

Police Officers Building Up Community by Helping…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 660

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 391

Free Seedling Plantings Available While Supplies…

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 391

Brown Pitches Baseball to Series Opener over…

by UK Athletics
April 17, 2015 389

'The Bidding is On' at Annual Library Auction

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 289

Paducah Man Faces Multiple Charges after…

by SurfKY News