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Alcoa Partially Restarting Indiana Smelter It Closed In 2016


Alcoa Corp. has reached a six-year agreement with Vectren, which will provide power for Alcoa’s plan to restart three smelting lines at the Warrick County plant.

Vectren Chairman and CEO Carl Chapman calls it a “significant economic development win” for the community. He says in a news release that the Evansville-based utility is pleased to play an important role.

The Pittsburgh-based company will invest around $30 million to restart the lines it closed last year. Alcoa Warrick Operations Spokeswoman Kari Fluegel says the company plans to hire as many as 275 workers.

“It’s a good capacity and will allow us to run the rolling mill very efficiently and help supply our increased production for our rolling operations,” Fluegel says.

The company currently has about 1,250 workers. The job hires are expected to include layoff recalls.

Tim Oakley was laid off when the plant closed in 2016. He has found a new job, but says when he gets the call to go back to Alcoa, it’ll be a complicated decision.

“You always have that doubt in your mind that hopefully it ain’t short term and you’re back to where you were,” Oakley says. “Because sometimes you’re giving up, you know, a decent job to go back. Not as good as there, but you’ve started over.”

Oakley says he thinks Alcoa’s investment is significant enough that he won’t be laid off again if he does choose to go back.

“You know it helps me in my mind that they’re doing three lines ‘cause that means their putting a long term investment in there and you know if it’s me, I don’t think they’re going to do it for a short term,” Oakley says.

The company anticipates having the lines fully operational by the second quarter of 2018. The State of Indiana is also pitching in with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation providing Alcoa up to $2.4 million in conditional tax credits and up $100,000 in training grants.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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