Alcoa, a leading producer and miner in the aluminum industry, is moving forward with the next phase in the modernizing of its Massena, New York operations, a $42 million investment for site preparation at its Messena East smelter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office said the upgrade is called for under a contract with the New York Power Authority for the continued supply of low-cost hydropower from the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Hydroelectric Plant, as part of a long-term agreement to protect a minimum of 900 jobs at the aluminum production facilities.
The company is also planning to provide an additional $10 million toward a North Country Economic Development Fund. The company’s decision to proceed with the next phase of the modernization of the former Reynolds Metals facility heralds the potential construction of a new aluminum production potline, for which work is expected to begin in June, the Governor’s office said. Alcoa’s modernization project is subject to receipt of an approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a proposed remedial action plan for cleanup of the Grasse River. The EPA’s decision is expected in April.
“Alcoa is a mainstay of the North Country’s economy and the surrounding vicinity, as the largest private-sector employer north of Syracuse," Cuomo said. “New York State is committed to supporting the company’s success as reflected by our partnership for the continued supply of low-cost hydropower. The modernization of the Massena operations will further reinforce Alcoa’s commitment to the region and secure their long-term future, so that we can keep good jobs here in the North Country."
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and many other government officials, employees, union leaders and community members, we are ready to take this important step toward modernizing our Massena facilities," said Alcoa Executive Vice President and President of Global Primary Products Chris Ayers. “Modernizing Massena will help us move farther down the aluminum cost curve and secure Alcoa’s place as a vital part of the North Country’s economy for decades to come."
Under the long-term power supply contract agreed to in 2008, Alcoa must invest a minimum of $600 million to modernize its Massena operations, in return for the low-cost hydropower. Alcoa also agreed to fund the NCEDF for economic development in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton, and Herkimer counties and on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation. The company would establish the fund by June, with the money to be administered by NYPA and another entity specified by New York State. Service under the new power supply contract begins on January 1, 2014, when the current contract expires, and extends to 2045. It includes an additional 10-year option to extend service beyond 2045.