Century Aluminum on track for Berkeley County plant restart project

This article was originally published by Live 5 News WCSC on August 27, 2021

Earlier this year, Century Aluminum announced they would be investing more than $60 million into its Mt Holly plant, to re-open a half of its second potline that has been shut down since 2015.

The full project is expected to take three years.

“When we initially said the 60 million dollars, that was only for 2021. Additional monies gets us up to about $93 million and that is going to include 2022 and 2023 ,to reline all 270 pots which will bring us to 75% capacity,” Mt. Holly Plant Manager Dennis Harbath said.

By increasing operations, the Lowcountry economy will see a financial impact of $250 million.

Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib said the project will benefit a lot of local businesses.

“There are several small businesses in and around our area who have benefited by their investment at this point. So, their impact is a billion dollars a year when they’re at full capacity,” Habib said. “They are probably going to be near that with the impact they have on our community when they’re at three quarters capacity. “

The news is a huge turnaround for the plant, considering last year officials said they might be forced to shut down if they couldn’t reach a new power agreement with Santee Cooper.

Looking to the future, Harbath said they hope to have the remaining portion of the plant up and running.

“Right now, we’re trying to secure a long-term deal with Santee Cooper and get that other 25% going. We’re trying to get that agreement and trying to get that last 25%,” he said. That would mean another 80 jobs, another $33 million investment, and another 90 pots up and going. That would make another $250 million impact in the Lowcountry economy.”

Century Aluminum CEO Jesse Gary: Section 232 program is vital for high-paying jobs

This article by Century Aluminum CEO Jesse Gary originally appeared in the South Carolina Post and Courier on June 4, 2021.


[This week], we were honored to welcome Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn to usher in a new era of growth for the Mount Holly aluminum smelter. Century Aluminum, America’s largest primary aluminum producer, is increasing production at the Goose Creek smelter by 50%, including investing more than $60 million and creating about 100 good-paying jobs.


This was only possible thanks to the leadership of Gov. McMaster, Rep. Clyburn and our Century team members in South Carolina as we work together to support Palmetto State families. We are proud that the Mount Holly aluminum smelter will now provide more than 400 direct aluminum jobs and create more than $500 million of overall economic activity in the Lowcountry.


Our smelter is the newest and most efficient smelter in the United States and produces products that are a vital part of our country’s national defense infrastructure. The aluminum produced in South Carolina is a key input for modern building materials, medical equipment, electrical vehicles and the renewable energy components that are essential to a low-carbon future in the United States. U.S. aluminum products also are used to create fighter jet skins and structures, armor plating for troop carriers and naval vessels, and propellants for missiles and other aerospace applications.


According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, in order for the U.S. primary aluminum industry to keep producing the quantities of aluminum we need, the Section 232 program must remain in place. The EPI report highlights how the Section 232 program has led to more than $6 billion in investments in 55 aluminum manufacturing projects since the initiation of the program in March 2018, creating nearly 4,500 additional jobs.


Despite the success of the program, global overcapacity in aluminum is still a major problem. A recent study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that nations around the world, from China to India to the Middle East, have poured billions of dollars into subsidizing and creating aluminum industries in their own countries given the critical role that aluminum plays in national security.


These subsidies have created significant overcapacity that has had a devastating effect on the U.S. industry. Since 2001, 17 smelters have closed their doors in the United States, leaving only six operating today. If the U.S. primary aluminum industry were to completely shut down, we would be forced to obtain aluminum critical for our national defense from our geopolitical rivals like Russia and China, and Middle Eastern nations.


The good news is that since the Section 232 program went into effect, the program has led to investments that have increased America’s domestic aluminum production by more than 60% and allowed plants like Mount Holly to create thousands of new American aluminum jobs. As the U.S. primary aluminum industry continues to rebuild, families in South Carolina and across our great nation benefit.


Just a few years ago, the forecast was cloudy for Mount Holly and the rest of the U.S. aluminum industry. Today, thanks to the 232 program, Century Aluminum is proud to be celebrating this new $60 million investment and 100 new jobs here in the Palmetto state.
Jesse Gary is the incoming president and chief executive officer of Century Aluminum.