Pittsburgh aluminium pioneer Alcoa Corporation announced the full closure of its idled Intalco aluminium smelter in Washington State.
The plant, which has been idle since 2020, will be replaced by development from the new rightsholder AltaGas. The 1,600 acre site features transportation and utility infrastructure.
Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey said in a press release that the decision was the product of a great deal of study.
“The Intalco smelter site operated for nearly 55 years, and we’ve spent significant time evaluating options for the asset, including a potential sale. Our analysis, however, indicates that the facility cannot be competitive for the long-term.”
“The site is an important part of our history, and we are encouraged by the prospects for potential economic development via another entity that will own and control land at the site,” he continued. “We will continue to engage with our stakeholders, including community members and government officials, as we make this transition.”
The site’s closure will permanently reduce Alcoa’s overall capacity by 279 thousand metric tons, bringing the firm’s overall aluminium production capacity to 2.69 million metric tons. Alcoa continues to operate a pair of aluminium smelters in the United States with a combined capacity of 399 thousand metric tons.
Randy Toone, President Midstream at AltaGas, said his firm is still considering its options at the site.
“AltaGas is currently exploring potential development which would align with Washington state and Whatcom County’s climate ambitions and provide long-term, sustainable benefits to the community and the local economy. We understand the rich legacy and importance of this site to the community. We look forward to working with local stakeholders, Tribes and Alcoa to ensure potential development benefits the region and positively contributes to the ongoing energy transition.”
The site’s production was shuttered in the fall of 2020 due to a fall in the aluminium market and corresponding rise in energy costs. The plant, which opened in 1966, currently employs 19 individuals, some of which will be kept on to complete tasks related to the plant’s closure.