Alcoa to close Indiana smelter, cut 600 workers

Alcoa Inc. says it will permanently close its Warrick Operations smelter in southwestern Indiana, eliminating 600 jobs.

Alcoa said Thursday it will close the 269,000-metric ton smelter by the end of the first quarter. The plant, east of Evansville, is one of the largest aluminum smelting facilities in the world.

The company said the rolling mill and power plant at the site will continue to operate. However, it will cut alumina production by 1 million metric tons by mid-year.

That includes cutting the remaining 810,000 metric tons of refining capacity at its Point Comfort operations in Texas, where another 670 workers will lose their jobs.

Alumina is used in the production of aluminum.

The company cited market conditions for the moves: It said the Midwest transaction aluminum price dropped by about 30 percent last year and the Alumina Price Index fell about 40 percent.

The company will keep about 1,200 people working at the facility, but Warrick County Chamber of Commerce director Shari Sherman said the layoffs will be a major economic hit to the area.

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