LAlumina’s Burnside alumina plant in Ascension, Louisiana could shut down by August 13 after incurring sustained losses since March, due to weak demand for the material caused by the pandemic.
The refinery has a production capacity of 500,000mt of alumina each year. In late March, LAlumina, which is a subsidiary of Arthur Metals LLC told the local authorities that it expected to furlough its employees until June to allow the market prices of smelter grade alumina to correct. At this point, the company still had enough resources to manufacture alumina for two more months.
Nonetheless, the cost of production outweighed the selling price, prompting it to take the decision to shut down completely, according to local media reports.
The company received a loan of $5mn on April 28, under the US Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program. However, it utilized those resources to pay salaries of its 302 employees in May and June.
The plant has changed hands thrice in this decade. It was shut for five years by Ormet Corporation till 2011. A year later, 200 employees were laid off. It was then taken over by Almatis before being sold to Arthur Metals in 2019.
Plant manager Gabriel Henn said in a local media interview that the company was not making much money even at full scale until March, adding that a few parties were interested in buying the plant.